Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Drexel, currently taking part in a midseason revival attempt, cooled off the previously red-hot Georgia State Panthers with relative ease through stifling defense. Is it too late, or do the Dragons have something here?
Drexel continued its stellar foul shooting, its recent return to defensive form, and its win streak as the Dragons topped Georgia State 68-57 Saturday afternoon, ending the Panthers' four game win streak.
In what was a deafeningly impressive first half on the defensive end, the Dragons' defense swarmed the Panthers' shooters all afternoon. While Manny Atkins, Devonta White and Rashaad Richardson were able to continue their scoring ways, the defensive pressure got to R.J. Hunter.
He fought the ball all afternoon, had a hard time getting any open looks, and with Drexel's student section's taunts adding to his dismay, Hunter finished the game just 1 of 9 from the field.
The Panthers team finished the game just 27.7 percent from the field as the Dragons held a fourth-straight opponent under 60 points, returning to the form expected from a Bruiser Flint defense.
In the afternoon's most dominating instance defensively, the Dragons held Georgia State without a field goal for a 13 minute, 45 second stretch from the end of the first half into the beginning of the second. The pressure was relentless in the half court and, aside from Richardson, the Panthers' shooters never found their range.
Meanwhile, Drexel's scorers started even colder than the Panthers, but eventually felt their way out offensively at the end of the first twenty minutes. Damion Lee led the Dragons with his fifth twenty-point game of the year, including a backbreaking 3-pointer at the end of what was ultimately the deciding sequence of the game.
Midway through the second half, Derrick Thomas hit one of his two threes to put the Dragons up by seven. After the Panthers failed to convert, Lee came back with a floater of his own. The next time down the court, Drexel's Kazembe Abif acrobatically stuffed a Georgia State drive up the lane. Lee corralled the rebound, dribbled down court, stopped just to the right of the top of the key and buried a three to extend the lead to 12.
The crowd exploded, Ron Hunter called a timeout, and the game was out of reach.