MARCH MADNESS

10 Observations on Drexel advancing to the NCAA Tournament!

MARCH MADNESS

For the first time in a quarter of a century, Drexel - yes Drexel! - is headed for the NCAA Tournament.

Drexel, seeded No. 6 in the Colonial Athletic Conference basketball tournament after going 4-5 in CAA play during the regular season, beat No. 8 seed Elon 63-56 Tuesday night to earn an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

Drexel, which had its first winning season since 2014, will learn its NCAA opponent on Sunday night.

Here are 10 Observations off a huge night for the Drexel Dragons of West Philly! 

1. Drexel is in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time, but the first time since 1996, when the team led by Malik Rose, Jeff Myers, Mike Derocckis and Cornelius Overby and coached by Bill Herrion went 27-4, won its last 11 regular-season games and three tournament games and then beat 5-seed Memphis 75-63 at The Pit in Albuquerque behind Rose’s 21 points and 15 rebounds for the only NCAA Division I tournament win in school history. Drexel lost two days later to 4-seed Syracuse.

2. Drexel shot at least 50 percent from 3-point range in all three CAA tournament games. This is the first time since before the 2009-2010 season - as far back as available records go - that Drexel has shot 50 percent or better from 3 in two straight games. And they did it in three straight games.

3. Not only that, Drexel shot 61 percent vs. the College of Charleston on Sunday and 59 percent against Elon Tuesday night. Drexel had only shot 59 percent from 3 once in its previous 73 games. 

 

4. Drexel won as many games this year at the Atlantic Union Bank Center in Harrisonburg, Va., as it won at the DAC. The Dragons only played five home games this year, going 3-2 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center at 33rd and Market. They went 3-1 at Atlantic Union Bank Center, losing to James Madison in January before sweeping College of Charleston, Northeastern and Elon in the CAA tournament.

5. Junior forward Tim Perry Jr. from Cherry Hill East had 9 rebounds in 10 minutes. The only other time in the last four years a Drexel player had at least 9 rebounds in 15 or fewer minutes was in February of 2019, when Perry had 10 rebounds in 14 minutes, also against Elon. Perry's dad Tim played for Temple and the 76ers. His sister Nylah was the 2019 New Jersey 400-meter dash champion and was a medalist in the 400 for Iowa at the Big Ten Championships last month.

6. Mate Okros, Drexel’s Hungarian forward, scored a team-high 14 points Tuesday night on 4-for-5 from 3. Through 10 games this year, Okros was averaging 4.7 points per game. In the last six games he’s averaging 11.5. Through those first 10 games, he was shooting 27 percent from 3. He’s shooting 56 percent from 3 in the last six (19-for-34). 

7. Drexel’s defense limited Elon to just 4-for-19 from 3 for 21 percent. That’s their 2nd-worst this year. They shot 17 percent against Delaware in January. Elon shot just 3-for-13 from the field in the final five minutes, including a meaningless 3 at the buzzer. 

8. Drexel freshman guard Xavier Bell scored 11 points in just 19 minutes for the Dragons on 4-for-6 from the field. Bell only scored in double figures once during the regular season - he had 16 points late in the season against Hofstra - but has now scored 11 points in each of the last two CAA tournament games.

9. Neither team shot a free throw in the first half. Elon was 2-for-3 in the second half Drexel was 11-for-14. It was only the second time in the last 10 years a team has made just two foul shots against Drexel. Hofstra was also 2-for-3 last March in a game Hofstra won in the CAA tournament.

10. Within seconds of Drexel finishing off Elon, Damion Lee of the Golden State Warriors tweeted out his congratulations to the Dragons. 

Even though Lee graduated from Louisville in 2016, he spent four years at Drexel, scoring over 1,500 points.