Drexel wasted no time removing the bad taste of its three-game losing streak.
The Dragons (13-11, 6-5 CAA) jumped out to a 12-point lead in the first four minutes and never looked back in their 78-67 win against James Madison.
James Madison (9-14, 2-10 CAA) fought back in the second half and trimmed the lead to seven, but Zach Walton had an answer. With the shot clock winding down, the senior guard was forced to launch a three from the right wing over two defenders. Walton pump-faked, got one defender to bite, and leaned into him to create a four-point play opportunity after making the three.
Every time the Dukes got with single digits, the Dragons responded.
Drexel had one of its most balanced scoring efforts of the season. Five players finished in double figures. James Butler led the Dragons and secured his 16th double-double of the season with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Walton, Camren Wynter, and Sam Green each finished with 11 points. Freshman T.J. Bickerstaff scored 10 of the Dragons’ 18 bench points.
Three-point shooting and defense helped Drexel build an early lead. The Dragons made 11 three-pointers while James Madison made only one. They also held the Dukes to 40% shooting.
Deshon Carter led James Madison with a career-high 23 points.
“There’s no better representative of our program of bringing your hard hat every day than James Butler,” coach Zach Spiker said. “I’m excited for him to have success because he deserves it, and he works so hard.”
“The games that we have lost, we have come out slower, so I think when we have a quicker start like that, it just sets tempo early,” Butler said.
“I thought we had a balanced attack. I don’t think we’ve played our best game," Spiker said. "We continue to tweak some things offensively, and I thought the ball got inside-out more tonight than it has for most of the season.”
Green’s ability to knock down three-pointers is important to Drexel’s success. When he’s on, driving lanes are opened for Wynter and Walton, which helps them score and create baskets for their teammates.
The win extended Drexel’s home winning streak to five games. The Dragons have won those games by an average of 14.2 points.