PRINCETON - Sophomore guard Damion Lee finished with 21 points and Derrick Thomas supplied suffocating defense as Drexel overcame a 13-point first-half deficit and jolted Princeton, 64-57, at Jadwin Gym on Saturday afternoon.
Dragons coach Bruiser Flint, whose team improved to 3-6, hopes the win is launching pad.
A year ago, Drexel was 2-4 when it defeated Princeton, starting a streak in which it won 25 of its next 26 games.
"From your mouth to God's ears," said a grinning Flint, when asked if this victory could trigger a similar run. "I hope so, but we have a long way to go."
Lee scored 13 of his points in the second half, including a three-pointer from the top of the key to snap a 57-57 tie with 2 minutes, 8 seconds left, helping Drexel end a two-game losing streak and preventing Princeton from (3-5) from getting to .500.
Thomas, despite failing to score in 26 minutes, keyed the victory as he continually frustrated Princeton star Ian Hummer in the second half. Hummer, whose uncle, John Hummer, spent six years in the NBA, had 14 first-half points, many coming off backdoor plays while working against Lee or Dartaye Ruffin (12 points).
But the Tigers' 6-foot-7 swingman was primarily guarded by Thomas in the second half, when he was held to just five points.
"He took up space and was physical," Flint said of the 6-4 Thomas. "Not only did he stop him from posting up, but I thought one of the big things was he didn't let the kid get any rebounds."
"Basically, I just wanted to play tough with him and see where his head was," said Thomas, whose team had a 19-4 rebounding advantage in the second half. "He was actually calling for it, and I was like, 'They're not going to give it to you.' I was trying to play mind games with him a little bit."
Hummer finished with 19 points for Ivy League favorite Princeton, which shot just 5 for 19 from three-point range and 8 for 13 from the foul line. Drexel was 5 for 10 from beyond the arc and 15 for 21 from the foul line.
Drexel, the preseason choice to win the Colonial Athletic Association, has struggled defensively - until Saturday.
"This could be our turning point," said Lee, who was 6 for 11 from the floor, including 3 for 5 from three-point range.