When Drexel coach Zach Spiker talks to his team about never giving up, he'll cite Thursday's record-setting comeback against Delaware as the No. 1 example.
Down by as many as 34 points in the first half and 27 at intermission, the Dragons stormed back for a stunning 85-83 win over visiting Delaware at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
According to David Worlock, NCAA director of media coordination and statistics, this was the largest comeback in Division I men's basketball history. That broke the mark set when Duke beat Tulane after trailing by 32 points on Dec. 30, 1950.
"So many times we say it is a great day to be a Dragon," Spiker said. "Anytime we had a dead ball in the second half, we said, 'It is a great day for a comeback.'"
Drexel, which shot 7 for 13 from three-point range in the second half, certainly showed the ability to fight through adversity. The Blue Hens' lead had peaked at 53-19 with 2 minutes, 36 seconds left in the first half.
"At the end of the day, you always have the option to show what you are made of, and we did that," said Drexel guard Tramaine Isabell, who had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists.
Drexel tied the score, 79-79 on Isabell's three-point play with 3:50 left.
The two teams traded baskets by Isabell and Delaware's Ryan Allen and then Austin Williams gave Drexel an 83-81 lead on a follow with 1:13 left.
Ryan Daly tied the score on a turnaround jumper inside with 10.4 seconds remaining.
Isabell was fouled with 2.2 seconds left on a three-point attempt.
He made two free throws, giving the Dragons an 85-83 lead.
Delaware's Eric Carter's shot from about 25 feet away only hit the backboard as time expired.
Drexel got back in the game with defensive pressure. The Dragons forced eight of Delaware's 12 turnovers in the second half.
"It is inexcusable, we have to be better, turnovers, being rattled we have to man up and get the ball over half court and execute," said Delaware's Carter, a 6-foot-9 redshirt junior who had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
With one regular-season game left, Drexel is 12-18, 6-11 in the Colonial Athletic Association while Delaware fell to 12-18, 5-12.
Isabell scored 22 of his game-high 29 points in the second half. Guard Sammy Mojica had 16 points and Troy Harper came off the bench to score 14 and guard Kurk Lee added 12.
"It's not the best record to break," said Harper, drawing laughter when asked about his team's place in history. "It is a great feeling, we did it, but nobody wants to ever to do it again. It was fun, but nobody wants to go down 30 and fight back and win."
Allen, Delaware's freshman guard, led the Blue Hens with 21 points.
In the first half, Delaware shot 21 for 34 from the field (61.8 percent), including 10 of 16 (62.5 percent) from three-point range.
Allen, who has been named the CAA's rookie of the week four times, had 15 first-half points, hitting five of seven from beyond the arc.
Drexel, which allowed 56 points in the first half, scored the same total in the second half to earn the improbable win.