Northeastern Halt Drexel's Revival And Begin Their Own

Debby Wong

Coming off their first in-conference loss of the year, Northeastern's Jonathan Lee wasn't about to let Drexel waltz into his arena and hand the Huskies their second straight CAA loss. The Dragons didn't put up much of a fight to the contrary.

When Damion Lee doesn't hit a three-point shot until 38 minutes and 38 seconds into the game, Drexel doesn't have much of a chance, no matter the competition.

In fact, looking back, it's a wonder that the Dragons were only trailing the Huskies by one late in the second half, considering how poorly Lee played.

With 5:18 remaining, the score was 43-42, Northeastern up and with possession almost two minutes after a Derrick Thomas three. Over those final 318 seconds, the Huskies outscored Drexel by six, but it felt like a lot more. For a seven-point difference, the home team was never truly challenged in the end.

It was ultimately more a testament to Bruiser Flint's defense than offensive competition. The Huskies shot a pedestrian 42.5 percent from the field, but the play of their two true stars, Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith, buoyed them down the stretch as Lee notched his 1,000th point at the school and the two made 10 of the team's 17 shots on the evening.

Yeah, 17 shots. It was that kind of game.

The Dragons, while actually making two more shots, were far outpaced in terms of shooting percentage. Their 35.2 percent mark did them in, especially the part where their two true stars, Damion Lee and Frantz Massenat, combined for 17 points on 5 of 22 shooting.

There is no kind way to put it: the Dragons are terribly inconsistent. They played their way into the game through tough defense, but at the end of the day, if Lee isn't scoring, they aren't going anywhere.

On the opposite side of the court, the Huskies continued to flex their depth. Quincy Ford and Reggie Spencer hardly contributed or were even noticeable on the court, tossing in just 12 measly points.

Yet Zach Stahl stepped up down the stretch with four free throws -- helping the team's overall 91.3 percent mark from the line in the game -- and the best team in the CAA bounced back from a tight loss by doing what they do best: finding ways to win no matter the name on the back of the jersey.

Moving forward, Drexel's renaissance effort seems to have fallen short this week, and at 5-5 in conference play, the Dragons will most likely have to settle for a seed lower than they had hoped coming into the night.

The Huskies, 9-1 in conference play, should be able to coast to the finish line in first as long as Lee, Smith, and the rotating cast continue to contribute the way they each have all year.

In short: these two teams took detours over the past week, but at the end of Saturday night's game, the Dragons and the Huskies are back to where they were a month ago, and the CAA standings are none the wiser.

We all bow to the beasts of the northeast.

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