Drexel used an early second-half surge to set the tone for its first Colonial Athletic Association win of the season. Trailing by 35-34 at halftime after being down by as many as 11 points, Drexel scored the first nine points of the second half to take command in Thursday’s 79-65 win over Elon at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Drexel snapped a four-game losing streak in improving to 7-9 and 1-2 in the CAA, while Elon fell to 5-11, 1-2.
The Dragons began the second half with a three-pointer from Trevor John, a three-point play by Alihan Demir, and a three-pointer by Troy Harper. That gave Drexel a 43-35 lead. Elon would quickly cut the lead to six points on two occasions , but just past the midway point the Dragons increased their lead to 14 points and from that point on, the Phoenix could never close the gap below 10 points.
“It felt every bit as big as it was,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said of that 9-0 run to being the second half. “It was huge.”
Drexel was coming off consecutive road CAA losses to two of the league’s top teams in Northeastern and Hofstra. Elon isn’t considered a CAA contender, but the Phoenix have a perimeter game that must be respected. They entered the game with 155 three-pointers, which leads the CAA.
The Phoenix shot 9-for-26 from three-point range, but just 2-of-12 in the second half.
“In the second half, we limited their three-point attempts and guarded better and got back on transition defense and didn’t give them second-chance points,” said Demir, the 6-foot-9 junior who had 19 points and eight rebounds.
Harper, the senior guard from Neumann-Goretti, continued his sizzling scoring pace with a game-high 21 points. He has averaged 21.1 points in his last eight games.
Just like his team, Harper got off to a slow start. He shot 2-for-8 from the field in the first half, but was 5-for-8 over the final 20 minutes.
Elon was led by sophomore guard Nathan Priddy, who scored 14 points, but the Phoenix got just 21 total points from senior guard Steven Santa Ana and 6-9 senior forward Tyler Seibring, who entered the game averaging a combined 32.5 points.
Drexel again played without point guard Kurk Lee, who missed his 13th game with an upper body injury. The Dragons received eight points and six assists from freshman point guard Camren Wynter, 12 points on four three-pointers from John and 10 points and five rebounds from forward James Butler.