Not surprisingly given their experience in close contests this season, Drexel and Quinnipiac played a game Monday night that featured 14 lead changes, a second half that saw neither team lead by more than five points, and a result that wasn't decided until the final buzzer.
Finally, the Dragons got a three-point basket by Kurk Lee with 2.1 seconds to play and captured a 72-71 victory over the Bobcats at the Daskalakis Athletic Center, spoiling the Philadelphia head coaching debut of former Villanova assistant Baker Dunleavy.
For Drexel (6-6), which was coming off a tough 63-60 loss at Temple, the win improved its record to 4-2 in games decided by four points or less. Meanwhile, Quinnipiac (3-10) dropped to 3-3 in games where the final margin was one or two points.
"I thought our guys hung in there and competed until the final second," Drexel coach Zach Spiker said. "There were a lot of opportunities to hang your head and that's happened in the past, but I didn't think we did that on offense and defense."
The Dragons had to compete until the final second. The Bobcats called timeout after Lee's basket and, taking a page out of the Villanova playbook, saw the inbounds pass go to the opposite free-throw circle and kicked out to the left wing to Rich Kelly, whose three-point try went off the rim.
"We fell behind a little bit but we just kept battling," said Dunleavy, who spent seven years on Jay Wright's staff, the last four as associate head coach, before taking the Quinnipiac job last April.
"At the end, we executed our offense. We didn't make the shot but we executed. All those things require great concentration while you're tired, and I thought our guys showed great grit when it came to that. We were just one bounce short."
The Dragons held 46-28 rebounding advantage and pulled down 17 offensive boards leading to a 14-6 edge in second-chance points. Tramaine Isabell shot 7-of-12 from the field and led Drexel with 23 points while Lee and Alihan Demir accounted for 14 points apiece.
Drexel led for much of the last nine minutes but trailed 70-69 after Isaiah Washington stole the ball from Isabell and hit a layup with 26 seconds to play. After a miss by Lee, Kelly hit one free throw for a two-point Quinnipiac lead with 13.1 seconds left.
Demir then set up Lee for the game-winning shot from the left wing.
Lee said Demir "made a play, pump-faked and my man stepped in. He made the great pass and I just shot it. It was an open shot created from Alihan, and it was a great pass."