Drexel’s Alihan Demir takes over in second half to beat La Salle
Alihan Demir and Troy Harper had career days as Drexel topped La Salle at Tom Gola Arena on Saturday.
Alihan Demir had the hot hand and Troy Harper made sure the rest of his teammates knew it.
As Drexel huddled during a timeout in the second half of its game against La Salle on Saturday, Harper instructed freshman point guard Camren Wynter to get Demir the ball.
"I told Cam, don't even look at me," Harper said. "Just throw it into Alihan and let him go to work and score."
After getting his first bucket of the second half with 5 minutes, 36 seconds to go, Demir scored 14 consecutive points for the Dragons during the next 4 1/2 minutes to extend their lead to double digits and help secure an 89-84 win over the Explorers at Tom Gola Arena.
"I missed a couple easy layups in the first half, so I had to bounce back," said Demir, who had seven points at halftime. "It just happened to me in the second half, and I just got it going. My teammates found me open, got me good looks, and I just finished it."
Harper led the Dragons with 24 points, which marked his highest point total in a Drexel uniform. He scored 26 points during his sophomore season at Campbell in 2015-16.
The Neumann-Goretti product went 5 for 10 from the field and made 14 of his 16 free throw attempts on Saturday. He knocked down five free throws in the final minute as La Salle made a desperate push late.
"Sometimes I just get in this zone," Harper said. "I can't really explain it … everything felt like it was going in slow motion, and I was way faster than everybody else."
Drexel took a 35-29 advantage into halftime and built the lead to double digits within the first minute of the second half. La Salle guards Isiah Deas and Cheddi Mosely combined to score 24 of La Salle's first 26 points to start the second half and get the Explorers back in the game.
Deas, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half, tied the game, 55-55, on a three-point shot with 8:55 left. La Salle stayed within five of the Dragons before Demir went on his run.
Pookie Powell, who finished with 21 points, helped the Explorers cut into the deficit again in the final minute, but they ran out of time as first-year coach Ashley Howard continues to search for his first victory.
"I felt like our guys battled until the end," said Howard, who played and was an assistant at Drexel. "We got down early in the second half, battled back, showed a lot of character."