The expectation coming into the season was that Kurk Lee would carry the scoring load for Drexel.
He certainly carried the load in Friday’s season opener against Bowling Green, but he did so without the scoring part.
Lee shot just 3-for-14 from the field, while Falcons guard Justin Turner poured in 33 points to deal the Dragons a 78-69 loss before a crowd of 2,504 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Drexel seemed to have taken control of the game in the first half, and led 42-32 at halftime. While Lee struggled, Austin Williams scored 16 points before intermission on a 6-for-6 shooting performance from the field.
The score was 52-42 in Drexel’s favor four minutes into the second half, but the Dragons went cold from the field at that point. They failed to make a field goal for seven minutes of game time, and Bowling Green charged back to take a 61-52 lead just past the midway point of the half.
Lee finally ended Drexel’s drought on a jumper with nine minutes left. The basket also ended his own personal drought on the night, at least temporarily. He was just 1-for-6 from the field in the first half, and that shot made him 2-for-9 up to then.
Spiker had no problem with Lee continuing to fire away as he continued missing.
“I always want Kurk Lee to make the right play. Most of the time he does,” Spiker said. “The numbers don’t look great [but] Kurk Lee is a great competitor, and I’m very proud of how hard he kept competing tonight.”
Bowling Green focused its defense on Williams, and held him without a shot in the second half until 7:47 remained. He ended the night with 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Sammy Mojica added 17 points and seven rebounds.
“Our execution can be better, but I don’t think our effort can be faulted tonight,” Spiker said.
Drexel was without two key guards, Miles Overton and Tramaine Isabell. Overton did not play due to a strained calf. Isabell — a redshirt junior who was to make his Dragons debut after transferring from Missouri — did not play because he “failed to meet a team standard,” according to a team spokesman. Spiker declined to elaborate when asked after the game.
At the other end of the floor, Turner got help from Daeqwon Plowden, a Philadelphia native and product of Mastery Charter North High, He scored nine points, including a thunderous breakaway slam dunk late in the first half that drew a roar from his many friends and family members in attendance.