NCAA

Drexel wins 3rd straight Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta

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Drexel wins 3rd straight Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta

Another year and another victory for Drexel.

The Dragons won the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta overall title for the third straight year Saturday. They dominated the Schuylkill River races, recording 44 points, the highest total for Drexel during its run.

The 77th installment of the event was filled with Drexel students and alumni. 

"It was loaded with blue and gold," head rowing coach Paul Savell said. "You could just see the grandstands were packed with Dragon fans."

It was a big weekend for Savell, personally, and for his rowing program. On Friday, he was named the Matt Lediwdth Award winner by the Dad Vail Organization Committee. It's presented to the rowing coach of the year as deemed by the committee.

"To have Paul Savell recognized as the Dad Vail Coach of the Year is a great honor for Drexel University," Drexel Director of Athletics Dr. Eric Zillmer said in a statement. "Winning the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta is the greatest of accomplishments because the Schuylkill River is only a stone's throw away from our campus.

"Drexel history is so intertwined with the history of urban Philadelphia, and the Dad Vail is part of that fabric that makes our city very special."

Drexel was the men's and overall winner. Bucknell and UMass tied for the women's points lead.

A few other local schools had a good showing Saturday, including Delaware, seemingly Drexel's biggest competition. The Blue Hens won the men's freshman/novice four and the men's varsity lightweight eight, and took second in the men's freshman/novice lightweight eight and men's freshman/novice heavyweight eight.

Temple made some noise throughout the day, winning the women's freshman/novice heavyweight eight and men's varsity lightweight four. But more importantly, it challenged Drexel in what may have been the most entertaining race of the day. The Dragons beat the Owls in a photo finish, 5.45.747 to 5.45.829 in the men's JV heavyweight eight. Temple finished sixth overall.

In 2013, Drexel took home its first Dad Vail Regatta victory. By now, it's old hat to the Dragons. Savell is prideful of the three-peat, but acknowledges that on race day, the success is due to the crew members.

"On a day like this I'm just a big fan out there," he said. "I'm just hoping that they are able to pull through and row to the best of their capabilities and I really do feel like they did."

The Dad Vail Regatta takes place on the second Friday and Saturday in May. With over 100 schools taking part and over 170 races taking place, it's not always easy to follow every single race all the way down Kelly Drive.

"I personally have to taper off so I can be ready for my bike event," Savell joked about biking down the Schuylkill during races. "It's really energizing to tell you the truth. But you're sore at the end of the day."

That soreness is something he can live with after Saturday's results.

Saint Joseph's comeback bid comes up short vs. Florida

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Saint Joseph's comeback bid comes up short vs. Florida

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Keyontae Johnson saw Florida’s big lead shrink to almost nothing in the final minute. He made sure his teammates didn’t let this one get away from the Gators.

Johnson had a career-high 22 points to lead the Gators to a 70-62 victory over Saint Joseph’s at the Charleston Classic, playing without ejected leading scorer Kerry Blackshear Jr. on Thursday. Not that it came easily as Florida (3-2) saw its 18-point lead cut to 64-62 in the final minute.

“We just communicated, told everyone to stay together,” Johnson said. “We stayed locked in.”

The focus proved the difference as Florida hit six foul shots down the stretch while Saint Joseph’s missed two shots and committed a pair of turnovers.

“Down the stretch, I thought we showed a tremendous toughness,” Florida coach Mike White said.

The Gators needed it with Blackshear missing almost all of the game. He played three minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls. Then he was thrown out when he was battling underneath and his elbow looked like it hit Saint Joseph’s guard Taylor Funk. Blackshear, who came in averaging 14 points and 12 boards, was called for a flagrant two foul and sent off the court.

Blackshear’s departure seemed to energize the Hawks (2-3), who trailed 43-27 when the Florida star left the court. That’s when St. Joseph’s went on a 29-16 spurt to cut it to three points on Funk’s basket with six minutes left.

But Johnson followed with a basket and Andrew Nembhard made another to extend the lead.

St. Joseph’s had one last charge, slicing things to 64-62 on Ryan Daly’s layup in the final minute. The Hawks had several chances to tighten things, but could not. “We’re not going to go down easy,” Daly said.

Florida will take on Miami here Friday for a spot in the Charleston Classic finals.

The Hawks face Missouri State on Friday.

Johnson also had a game-high 12 rebounds. Nembhard added 16 points.

Florida took control quickly and appeared to make this a runaway as Noah Locke had two 3-pointers and Nembhard also hit one from behind the arc as the Gators went ahead 11-2 less than two minutes in and steadily built its lead.

St. Joseph’s had hit 34 first-half 3s combined its first four games. It made just one of its 14 long-range attempts this time as it fell behind.

Daly led the Hawks with 25 points.

Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova routs MTSU 98-69

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Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova routs MTSU 98-69

CONWAY, S.C. -- It’s been awhile since No. 17 Villanova shot this well from long range. Cole Swider has never scored like this.

Swider scored a career-high 26 points with six 3-pointers, and the Wildcats routed Middle Tennessee 98-69 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Collin Gillespie added 16 points and hit four 3s, Justin Moore finished with 15 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 11 rebounds to help Villanova (3-1) - which never trailed, led by 35 and shot 57% while winning its second straight following a 25-point loss at No. 10 Ohio State.

And yet, another number in the box score caught coach Jay Wright’s eye - Swider’s seven rebounds.

“He’s more than just a shooter,” Wright said.

And the Wildcats have plenty of those. They made 18 3s - one shy of the school record, and their most since they also had 18 in a victory over Kansas at the 2018 Final Four.

“They have elite size with great shooters,” Middle Tennessee coach Nick McDevitt said, “and any short close-out or decent close-out results in three points.”

Eleven of them came during a first-half barrage that pushed the lead well into the 20s. Swider hit his fifth 3 from the corner shortly before the buzzer to put the Wildcats up 53-28 at halftime.

Saddiq Bey then took the lead to 30 with a 3-pointer two minutes into the second half.

Donovan Sims scored 18 points and C.J. Jones had 16 for the Blue Raiders (3-2). Leading scorer Antonio Green, averaging 23.5 points going into the game, finished with four points on 1-of-7 shooting while dealing with foul trouble.

“They’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts, so they were switching just to never let him see space,” McDevitt said.