Staring down Dragons

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February 22, 2008

4:40 PM

p. After a grueling three-game road trip during which the Tribe finished 0-3, the friendly territory of Kaplan Arena proved to be just the remedy for the College’s road blues.

The Tribe (14-12, 10-6 CAA) had four players score double figures in a 57-50 victory over Drexel University (11-17, 4-12) Wednesday evening to help the Tribe maintain its fourth-place position in the CAA.

After shooting a measly 29.6 percent in the first half, the College caught fire in the second, shooting 42 percent overall and 57 percent from beyond the arc after the break.

“This was a great win for our basketball team coming off of a brutal road trip. I allowed our team to lose focus of what is important a little bit,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “What is important is the next game.”

The first half saw the Tribe struggle mightily from the floor. The College took eight fewer shots than the Dragons, and Drexel took a 25-22 lead into the halftime break.

“We were not completing plays [in the first half]” senior guard Nathan Mann said. “Our defense kept us in the game. We did a great job executing in the first half, but missed the shots.”

The College held Drexel center Frank Elegar to only one shot in the first frame. Elegar, a likely All-CAA selection, averages over 15 points and eight rebounds per contest. Tribe junior forward Peter Stein was charged with guarding the powerful Elegar, and largely kept the big man in check, allowing Elegar to finish with only nine points and five boards.

The game was a back-and-forth affair with 11 lead changes until the Tribe posted a 7-0 run midway through the second half that put the Tribe up by six. Freshman forward Marcus Kitts was instrumental during the run, scoring in the paint and then assisting on a Mann three-pointer the next possession. The Dragons did not get within three points for the remainder of the contest.

“We knew they would be aggressive on defense,” senior forward Laimis Kisielius said. “We were strong with the ball and made our foul shots.”

The College finished 20 of 23 from the foul line while holding the Dragons to 13 points at the stripe.

Tramayne Hawthorne of Drexel led all scorers with 14 points. Mann led the Tribe’s four double-digit scorers with 13, while Kisielius, sophomore forward Danny Sumner and sophomore guard David Schneider each chipped in 12.

The College’s next game is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday as the Tribe hosts Loyola University (Chicago) in an ESPN Bracketbusters matchup.

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