There wasn't much time for me to lick my wounds from Maryland's loss to Temple earlier in the day at the Palestra. I made a stop at Abner's in University City for a cheesesteak, then headed over for the second game of my Philly tripleheader at the Daskalakis Athletic Center, home of the Drexel Dragons.
This was the true bonus game of the day. I knew I was going to be at the Palestra for Maryland-Temple early in the day, and I knew that I was heading back to the Palestra that night for some Big Five action (more on that later), but I was essentially only seeing the matchup between Drexel and the Northeastern Huskies to pass time. It didn't hurt that tickets were free from a friend in the Drexel media relations office, and that it was Dollar Hot Dog Day. When has Dollar Hot Dog Day EVER been a bad thing?
As luck would have it, it appeared that we had managed to find ourselves a pretty good game. Drexel came into the matchup on Saturday with a 5-2 record in the CAA and had been on a tear of late, showing some of the promise that led them to earn the title as preseason favorites in the Colonial. Northeastern was also 5-2, a bit of a surprise after a rough start to the year in non-conference play. Despite being the bonus game, it looked like we might have stumbled upon an important and interesting matchup to serve as the middle portion of my Philly tripleheader.
It was important, certainly, with each team jockeying for position behind current conference leader George Mason. Interesting, though? Not so much. Drexel jumped all over Northeastern from the start, opening up a lead that was as much as 18 before the second media timeout.
Northeastern pulled off a 15-0 run of their own to get within three, but it wouldn't get any closer than that the rest of the way. Buoyed by absurd shooting percentages of 60 percent from the field as a whole, and 64 percent from three-point territory, the Dragons cruised to a 71-53 over the Huskies. The sold-out DAC crowd would be able to go home happy.
I haven't seen a ton of CAA basketball this season -- if anything, the Patriot League seems to be my Other 24 league of choice this year -- but Drexel's managed to impress me more than anybody else I've seen so far. Especially if they consider the tear that they've been on, I'd have to think that they have a great chance to win their first CAA crown in a pretty wide-open CAA Tournament come March.
With game two in the books, we shuffled back over to the Palestra, getting ready to experience the nightcap of a crazy day in college hoops.
at DREXEL 71, NORTHEASTERN 53 01/21/2012
NORTHEASTERN 9-9 (5-3) -- Q. Ford 0-4 10-10 10; J. Lee 6-11 2-2 16; R. Spencer 2-6 1-2 5; J. Smith 2-9 0-0 4; A. Bigby 1-3 1-2 3; K. Edwards 1-3 2-2 4; K. Black 1-1 0-1 2; M. Banegas-Flores 1-1 1-3 3; R. Pierson 2-4 0-1 4; D. Pollard 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 17-44 17-23 53. DREXEL 14-5 (6-2) -- D. Thomas 7-8 1-2 20; F. Massenat 3-3 3-4 11; S. Givens 6-10 7-11 19; D. Lee 4-8 7-9 17; D. Ruffin 1-3 2-4 4; D. McCoy 0-0 0-0 0; C. Fouch 0-3 0-0 0; A. Younger 0-0 0-0 0; K. Abif 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-35 20-30 71.
Three-point goals: NU 2-10 (J. Lee 2-3; J. Smith 0-4; R. Pierson 0-1; D. Pollard 0-1; Q. Ford 0-1), DREX 9-14 (C. Fouch 0-2; D. Thomas 5-5; F. Massenat 2-2; D. Lee 2-5); Rebounds: NU 19 (R. Spencer 7), DREX 26 (F. Massenat 7); Assists: NU 4 (K. Black 2), DREX 16 (S. Givens 5); Total Fouls -- NU 21, DREX 19; Fouled Out: NU-K. Edwards; DREX-None.