Drexel falls to NJIT, drops its third straight game
A scoring drought in the second half was too difficult to overcome, resulting in the Dragons' extended losing streak.
NEWARK, N.J. — The injuries just won't stop for Drexel basketball.
With two guards already absent and a third going down midway through the first half against New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Dragons were left shorthanded on the perimeter, with just three healthy scholarship guards able to finish Saturday afternoon's contest.
That lack of depth certainly played a part in Drexel's struggles with shooting and turnovers in a 65-53 loss to the Highlanders.
Drexel, averaging 15 turnovers per game, committed 17 against NJIT. Compounding that issue, the Dragons (2-4) were 19 for 58 (32.8 percent) from the floor and 3 for 21 (14.3 percent) from three-point range, and only 12 for 25 (48 percent) from the foul line.
"This was our first true road game, and we did not handle it very well," Drexel coach Zach Spiker said. "It's not indicative of what our program is."
Kurk Lee Jr. had 13 points and Tramaine Isabell had 11 for Drexel, which lost for its third game in a row.
NJIT was paced by junior guard Reilly Walsh's 14 points.
After taking a three-point lead into halftime, the Dragons went 8:40 without scoring in the second half as NJIT went on a 13-0 run to seize control. Sammy Mojica ended the drought on a three-pointer with 7:36 to play, but that cut the deficit to only 55-43.
NJIT responded with a triple of its own, and Drexel didn't get within 10 points the rest of the way.
Drexel entered the game already missing two major pieces of its backcourt, Troy Harper and Miles Overton. Sam Green went down in the first half after crashing into his team's bench.
Overton, who's played in only one game, is day-to-day with a calf strain. Harper, who's averaged 10.6 points, is out for several weeks with a separated shoulder suffered in Drexel's previous game, Nov. 19 against Drake in the Paradise Jam in Lynchburg, Va.
Green, averaging 5.6 points through the team's first five games, came out for Saturday's second half on crutches and with his knee wrapped in a bandage; he'll require further evaluation.
"I will make no excuses for our program and where we are because of injuries," Spiker said.
Sophomore forward Alihan Demir made his debut in a Dragons uniform, scoring five points and grabbing eight rebounds in 34 minutes off the bench. Demir, a 6-foot-9 native of Ankara, Turkey, who played last season at Central Wyoming College, was ineligible to play in Drexel's first five games because he played in an unsanctioned league back home.
Drexel returns home for a game Wednesday against Lafayette (0-4).