A season of firsts continues for the Tribe after its latest victory, as the College defeated the Drexel University Dragons 60-47 Wednesday at Kaplan Arena, holding the Dragons to their lowest score this season. The win marks the Tribe’s first CAA victory over Drexel and the first time the College has amassed 15 victories since the 1997-1998 season. The Tribe is now 15-11 overall and 8-8 in the CAA. This is only the fifth team in the 102-year history of Tribe basketball to record 15 Division I victories.
p. “This is definitely a big win for us,” senior guard Adam Payton said. “It’s definitely a big confidence booster for us.”
p. Three upperclassmen reached double figures for the Tribe, including junior forward Laimis Kisielius (17 points and eight rebounds), junior guard Nathan Mann (12 points) and Payton (13 points). Kisielius’ team-high of eight rebounds reflected the Tribe’s rebounding presence as the College topped Drexel on the boards, 43-34. Moreover, the College held the Dragons to 33.3 percent shooting overall and just 9.1 percent from three-point range.
p. “I thought both teams struggled making shots,” Shaver said. “What we didn’t do was give them a second shot.”
p. Early on, it seemed as though Drexel would get second shots as junior center Frank Elegar (18 points and nine rebounds) established himself in the paint and Drexel opened a 11-6 lead at the 11 minutes, 47 second mark. However, for the next 9:58 Drexel would go scoreless, leaving the Tribe to take advantage with a 14-0 run, grabbing the lead and control of the game. During the spurt, Kisielius scored seven points on a three-pointer sandwiched by two layups. The run allowed the College to take a 22-17 lead at halftime.
p. Drexel’s scoring woes continued early in the second half as the College outscored the Dragons 15-5 en route to its largest lead of the game at 37-22. Drexel responded by slowly chipping away at the lead and its 8-1 run closed the gap to four at 51-47 with 2:23 remaining. The Dragons got back into the game by turning up the defensive intensity and pressing the Tribe. And it worked, as the Dragons forced five turnovers and turned them into points.
p. “They have some quick players,” Payton said. “We just kind of fell straight for the trap. We didn’t handle it well when it came.”
After Payton’s turnover at the 2:10 mark, the Tribe did not turn the ball over again and Drexel went cold. The College outscored the Dragons 9-0 in the final two minutes of the game by hitting crucial free throws. In the final 1:12 of the game, the Tribe went 9-10 from the free throw line to seal the victory.
p. “They played well. They beat us at all aspects of the game,” Drexel Head Coach Bruiser Flint said. “Give them all the credit in the world.”
p. The College will now go back on the road to face the Fairfield University Stags in a non-conference match-up as a part of the O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters. The Stags have won eight of their last 10 games and sit at 11-17 overall and 9-7 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. This marks the first meeting between these teams since Dec. 22, 1973, and only the second in the series — which Fairfield leads 1-0. Tipoff for the game is tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Bridgeport, Conn. The Tribe’s next conference match is at Drexel Wednesday.