Monday, November 24, 2014

GAME RECAP: Drexel 61, Cornell 59

CHARLESTON, S.C. – For the second straight game, an outstanding first half defensive effort couldn't overcome a furious second half rally by the opposition as Drexel earned a late 61-59 victory over Cornell on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic at TD Arena. The Big Red slipped to 2-4 on the year, while Drexel is now 1-4.

Senior Shonn Miller had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead the Big Red, while classmates Devin Cherry (11 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals) and Galal Cancer (11 points, four assists, three rebounds, three steals, two blocks) each added 11 points. Sophomore Robert Hatter was the team's fourth double figure scorer with 10 points, while David Onuorah had si points, five rebounds and a block. Cornell shot 45 percent and held the Dragons to 34 percent shooting overall, but that number was 52 percent after the break.

Drexel got 28 points, seven rebounds and three assists from Damion Lee, though the team's leading scorer was held to 9-of-24 shooting. He was the lone double figure scorer, though Rodney Williams had nine points and 14 rebounds, including seven big offensive boards. The Dragons outscored the Big Red 9-2 on second chance points and 19-8 off turnovers.

The Dragons chipped away at the lead after the break, though Cornell got the lead up to 14 (36-22) with 17 minutes left as part of a 10-3 Big Red run. Drexel tied the game at 41-41 with 8:15 left, but Cornell answered with an 8-2 mini-run that included a dunk by David Onourah and a running jumper on the break from Cancer.

Drexel didn't take its first lead until Rashaan London hit a runner in the lane with 95 seconds left, and a missed 3-pointer and turnover allowed the Dragons to go up five (57-52) on six straight points by Lee. Miller hit a long jumper with two seconds to play to cut it to 60-59, but Mohamed Bah hit a free throw and missed the second one intentionally. Miller grabbed the rebound, but couldn't get a desperation heave on target.

Cornell's defense dominated the first 20 minutes, as the Big Red limited the Dragons to 1-of-14 shooting to start the game and 6-of-33 for the half, getting seven of its 17 points on second chance points. The Big Red held Drexel without a 3-pointer on nine attempts and kept leading scorer Lee to just four points on 1-of-8 shooting.

Cherry was especially excellent in the first 10 minutes as Cornell built its lead and ended the half with eight points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal, while Miller chipped in five points, five rebounds and a steal. LaMore provided a big spark off the bench with five rebounds and a blocked shot.

The Big Red scored the game's first four points and led throughout the half, extending the lead to as many as 11 and holding a two possession lead nearly the entire half thanks to an excellent defensive effort.

Cornell scored on its first possession and led the rest of the way, building its largest lead at halftime on an offensive putback by Cancer. Williams got fouled on a putback attempt of his own to get back within nine at the break.

The Big Red returns home for a pre-Thanksgiving matchup with Canisius on Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7 Newman Arena.  The game is the second in a doubleheader that will also feature the women playing Marshall at 5 p.m.

Box Score

Charleston, S.C. - Drexel rallied from a 14-point second half deficit to defeat Cornell, 61-59. Damion Lee scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half as the Dragons earned their first win of the year in their final game in the Gildan Charleston Classic.

Drexel (1-2) trailed for the entire game until late run in the final three minutes put the team ahead to stay. With Cornell (2-4) ahead 52-50, Drexel scored seven straight points to take a five-point lead. Rashann London's jump shot with 1:35 to play put Drexel ahead for the first time. The Dragons came up with a stop and then Lee scored on a pair of free throws and on a lay-up, putting the team ahead by five with just :30 left. The Big Red was able to cut it to one with just two seconds left after a long three-pointer by Shonn Miller. The Dragons were able to get the ball in and Mohamed Bah was fouled. The sophomore made the first to give Drexel a two-point lead and missed the second intentionally as time expired.

Cornell led by nine at the half (26-17) and extended that lead to 14-points early in the final half. Robert Hatter knocked down a three-pointer with 17:03 to put the Big Red ahead, 36-22. Drexel got back in the game by scoring 12 of his the next 14 points to trim the deficit to just four with more than 11 minutes left in the contest.

Lee struggled with his shot early but took over in the second half. After making just one of eight shots in the early going, Lee was 8-for-16 in the second half. He also had seven rebound and three assists. He was the only Dragon in double figures scoring. London scored a career-high nine points, including seven in the second half. Rodney Williams added nine points and tied a career-high 14 rebounds. Drexel controlled the glass, outrebounding the Big Red, 44-35. Freshmen Sammy Mojica and Tyshawn Myles each had five boards. The Dragons finished the game shooting 34 percent from the floor, which wasn't as bad as it sounds, considering the team made just one of its first 14 shots. Drexel shot 52 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes.

Shonn Miller led Cornell with 13 points. He was one of four players to score in double figures for the Big Red, who shot 45 percent from the floor, but turned over the ball 14 times.

The Dragons will fly back to Philadelphia and will be back in action next Sunday. Southern Mississippi will be visiting the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m.


Matt said...

We lost this one at the free throw line. Just look at the season stats so far. We've outscored opponents at the free throw line in 4 of 6 games. Against physical South Carolina, we took 5 fewer attempts and scored 5 fewer points. Not a bad result. Against guard-oriented Drexel, we took 8 fewer shots and were outscored by 10. Worst result of the year, by far.

BigRed1965 said...

So now, the players have to learn how to maintain a lead. Truthfully, there was just a sense that Drexel was going to come storming back after a dismal first half. Our team is blowing too many leads. Cherry is very talented, but with all those turnovers maybe the ball should go through Cancer instead as point guard.