BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - As Fairfield swarmed on defense on Sunday, using its guards to aggressively pressure the ball, Drexel had no answer. Possession after possession, Fairfield imposed its will, forcing Drexel into tough and contested jump shots all game long in the Dragons' 69-58 defeat at Webster Bank Arena.
"Guys in there, we didn't play with any toughness," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "Don't play with any toughness, you're not going to win any games. People feed off of that. They know that."
Drexel didn't adapt to Fairfield's aggressiveness. A 16-1 spurt in the second half allowed Fairfield (7-5) to build a double-digit lead and hold off Drexel (3-7) in the final minutes.
"We were getting into the sets we wanted. They were just out-toughing us, playing really aggressive," Drexel senior forward Daryl McCoy said. "We just couldn't get the ball in certain places at certain times."
Flint explained his team's lack of aggressive play as the Dragons' not being physical with the ball, allowing Fairfield's defenders to jump on top of them. This created offensive stagnancy and kept the Dragons from going on any runs. The problem stemmed from the guard play; the Dragons outrebounded Fairfield and scored more points in the paint.
Drexel held a 38-36 lead before the game slipped away. Fairfield went on a 16-1 run to take a 52-39 lead with 6 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the game. The Dragons went 6:55 without scoring and 7:57 with making a basket, both courtesy of their leading scorer, sophomore Damion Lee, who had 15. Drexel cut it to five in the final minutes, but Fairfield hit shots and knocked down its free throws.
"We're not playing well. If we keep continuing to play like this, we're not going to win," Flint said. "We have to get ourselves better, and we haven't been. That's it."
Before the game, a moment of silence was observed for the victims of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. The digital boards around the arena read "Sandy Hook Elementary School." McCoy, who scored eight points and had eight rebounds, grew up in Hartford, Conn.
"To hear about it being here, it hit close to home," McCoy said.