Work Samples

Down by 20, Drexel rallies at George Mason

February 1, 2013

By David Driver
For the Daily News
Used with permission

For The Daily News (Philadelphia)

Fairfax, Va. - The fiery Bruiser Flint was at his best Thursday night, when at times it appeared he would blow a gasket.He got a warning from one referee about a possible technical, screamed at all-league guard Frantz Massenat during a timeout and sat on a table in front of the Drexel radio announcers so they could barely see the action.

And that was all in the first half, when Flint could hardly believe what he was seeing as his team fell behind by 20 points. But it was Mason that was left stunned as Drexel, which trailed by 13 at halftime but came back in the second half and beat the Patriots, 58-54, in front of a stunned crowd of 4,365 in a Colonial Athletic Association contest.

Damion Lee hit a three-pointer with 22.2 seconds left to break a 54-54 tie and, after Mason threw the ball away, Lee hit a free throw with 2 seconds left to account for the final margin in a game in which the Dragons made 16 turnovers and hit just four of 16 three-point shots. The Dragons missed nine of their first 10 shots and did not get a field goal until midway through the first half.

"I don't want to say where [the comeback] ranks. But we have not done anything like that" this season, said Flint, whose team had lost its last four games at Mason. "We have lost some huge games here. It has been a house of horrors."

"This is not an easy environment to play in," said Lee, who had 20 of his game-high 29 points in the second half. "Coach said at halftime they were beating us because they were more physical. We came together as a team in the second half."

Drexel (9-12, 5-4 CAA) trailed 33-13 with 3:45 left in the first half before battling back, and Lee hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it 38-25 at the break.

"He is a terrific player," Mason coach Paul Hewitt said of Lee, who played all 40 minutes.

"We can't give him any open looks," said Mason guard Sherrod Wright, who had 15 points. "He got going with that shot at the end of the first half."

The Dragons outrebounded Mason (12-9, 5-4) by 26-12 in the second half and had 14 offensive rebounds in the game, which led to second-chance shots. Derrick Thomas had 12 points for the Dragons, Dartaye Ruffin had 10 rebounds and Daryl McCoy had seven boards.

Mason sophomore starter Erik Copes, from Imhotep, had three points and six boards.

In a season of injuries, Drexel standout junior guard Massenat came up limping and favoring his right ankle late in the first half. He returned and played 32 minutes with seven points and four assists. "I will be fine," he said on the way to the team bus, about 30 minutes after the buzzer.

Early in the second half, Flint caught an errand pass by Ruffin and bounced the ball hard three times as Mason fans behind the Drexel bench hollered for a technical, which somehow never came all night to the demonstrative Flint.

"I was getting ready to throw the ball back on the court," Flint said later, with a smile.

But the best comeback was by the Dragons, who escaped a "house of horrors" with a win. They return to action Saturday at Northeastern (13-8, 8-1).