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Persistent Drexel beats Lafayette, 68-67

The Dragons trailed by 11 points early in the second half and by eight with under four minutes left.

Lafayette’s Paulius Zalys looks to deny an entry pass from Drexel’s Kurk Lee.
Lafayette’s Paulius Zalys looks to deny an entry pass from Drexel’s Kurk Lee.Read moreMarc Narducci

It was a night of overcoming deficits for Drexel's basketball team, but the Dragons' persistence paid off.

Trailing by 11 points early in the second half and eight points with less than four minutes remaining, Drexel  defeated Lafayette, 68-67, in a nonleague game Wednesday at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

The injury-plagued Dragons, who were without rotation players Miles Overton, Troy Harper, and Sam Green, improved to 3-4 while hard-luck Lafayette fell to 0-6.

"We got down 11 and I think we could have unraveled and folded — and have at other times —  and showed some backbone there to get back in the game and make some good plays," Drexel coach Zach Spiker said.

After Lafayette took a 67-66 lead on freshman guard Justin Jaworski's three-point play with 40.9 seconds left, Drexel got the game-winner on a dunk by Austin Williams with 13 seconds remaining.

Leading up to the dunk, Drexel missed a shot, but Sammy Mojica got the offensive rebound and passed to guard Tramaine Isabell, who whipped a pass inside to Williams. The 6-foot-8 Drexel senior then finished it off with an emphatic dunk.

The key was the pass inside by Isabell, who had a team-high 19 points and shared the team lead with four assists while playing all 40 minutes.

"There was time on the clock and Sammy got the offensive rebound and everybody was kind of scrambling," said Isabell, a transfer from Missouri. "I saw the other team trying to find a man, there was an open lane and I passed the ball."

Williams then blocked a shot at the other end, but Lafayette retained possession and had two more chances. Jaworski missed a three-pointer and teammate Eric Stafford got the rebound but was short on his shot at the buzzer.

Jaworski, a product of Perkiomen Valley, had a season-best 24 points to lead the Leopards, while Matt Klinewski, a 6-8 senior from Eastern High in South Jersey, added 17 points.

Williams had 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks and 6-9 sophomore Alihan Demir came off the bench to contribute 12 points and six rebounds for the Dragons.

Lafayette sped to a 43-32 lead early in the second half, but just as quickly, Drexel came back and momentarily took a 48-47 lead when Tyshawn Myles hit one of two free throws with 11:22 left. The Dragons later needed a 12-3 run to end the game.

Drexel trailed by 29-25 at halftime, shooting 1 for 12 from three-point range, while Lafayette was 5 for 12. In the second half, the Dragons shot 6 for 19 from behind the arc.