This season, the Dragons still have five regular-season games to go and have already reached the 20-win mark, eclipsing last season’s Colonial Athletic Association record by earning their 12th conference win on the road in Harrisonburg, Va. Feb. 8 over the Dukes of James Madison University. The last time the Dragons posted back-to-back 20-plus win seasons was back when Malik Rose graced the Drexel campus in the mid-1990s.
Drexel defeated the Dukes in a close game the same way they have been winning all season — scoring coming from multiple players, outrebounding the opponent and shooting a high percentage from the foul line, especially down the stretch.
Leading the Dragons (20-5, 12-2 CAA) to their 12th consecutive victory — they are now just five short of the CAA record — was the usual cast of sophomore point guard Frantz Massenat (16 points in all 40 minutes), freshman guard Damion Lee (12 points) and, of course, senior forward Samme Givens (14 points and 13 rebounds). By recording his fifth double-double of the season with a season-high 13 rebounds, Givens moved up to seventh on the all-time CAA rebounding list. Also helping out on the board was junior forward Daryl McCoy, who pulled down eight boards.
Despite being able to walk away with the victory, the Dragons did not just walk all over James Madison. The Dukes jumped out to an 8-0 lead early in the first half as Drexel came out slow. The Dragons were able to recover, though, as they followed up the Dukes’ 8-0 run with an 11-0 run of their own. After a back-and-forth first half, Drexel led JMU by just two, 26-24, at the end of the first half.
Coming out of the locker room, nothing seemed to change as the Dukes kept playing pesky basketball, hanging around the entire game. It seemed as though every time the Dragons were able to extend a lead, the Dukes would call a timeout, draw up a play and come out and execute in order to cut the lead.
Despite all that, Drexel always managed to keep the lead at around five or six. Down the stretch, the Dragons sealed the eight-point victory by going 12-14 from the charity stripe in the second half, finishing the game 16 of 19 (84.2 percent) from the foul line.
Up next for the steaming-hot Dragons are two consecutive home CAA matchups. First, Drexel will welcome Hofstra University to the DAC for an afternoon game Feb. 11. Just a few days later, The College of William & Mary will be in Philadelphia at the DAC for a night game Feb. 14, which will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.