PHILADELPHIA – Drexel University (5-5) returned to the Daskalakis Athletic Center to take on Coppin State (1-14). After 35 minutes of back and forth, Drexel pulled away and won, 76-69.
Sophomore forward Lamar Oden Jr. had one of the best games of his young career, scoring a team high 15 points for the Dragons.
But let’s get the elephant out of the room first shall we… If anyone was wondering why both teams were wearing Drexel Jerseys, Coppin State apparently forgot their jerseys so, they had to borrow Drexel’s practice pinnies to wear for the game.
Now, on to Drexel’s victory.
Oden and senior Coletrane Washington, new starters into the lineup, started the game hot from 3 making 3 of their first 4 to open up the lead to 11-3 in the first 2 minutes of the game. Coppin State answered, going on a 7-0 run to close it into a 1-point game, 11-10.
Drexel senior guard Matey Juric made a 3 to balloon the lead back up to a 7-point game, but Coppin State wouldn’t roll over. The teams traded baskets for the next 10 minutes and the Dragons took an 11-point lead going into the under 4-minute media timeout.
During the last 4 minutes of the first half, Coppin State guard Kyle Cardaci hit two threes before cutting the lead to 6 going into the break.
Throughout the first half, Drexel had control of the game and never felt to be losing momentum, but that changed when the second half began. Coppin State came out of the locker rooms firing, scoring 8 straight points prompting Drexel head coach Zach Spiker to call a timeout with Coppin State taking the lead, 43-41.
Drexel senior guard Camren Wynter and Coppin State forward Tyree Corbett traded baskets, each scoring their team’s next 5 points. After Oden made 2 free throws to put Drexel up, 53-51, neither team scored for the next 4 minutes of the game. With 10:22 to go, Drexel sophomore center Amari Williams scored 4 points to start widening the lead back to where it was.
Every short spurt of points that Drexel had, Coppin State answered. For the next 7 minutes Coppin State’s Justin Steers, Mike Hood, and Nendah Tarke carried the offensive load to keep the game within striking distance.
With 3:06 left in the game, Coppin State took a 69-68 lead, which they hadn’t seen much throughout the game. Unfortunately for Coppin State, Drexel’s defense tightened up and didn’t allow a single point in the final 3 minutes of the game, going on an 8-0 run, holding Coppin State to 0/7 shooting to close.
Spiker said to not underestimate Coppin State by just looking at their record.
“It’s a team that won their division in their conference last year. I think they are very well coached; they are disciplined to run their action to get the person the ball they want… We know they are going to take a lot of 3s. They took a lot of 3s, we tried to make that quality as low as we could, but also knowing that if they take those, they are going to go in,” said Spiker.
Spiker also praised his sophomore standout.
“Lamar really gave us a big start early on. We came out and hit 3 of our 10 threes right away. We had a good start tonight,” he said.
Drexel looks to go to 2-0 in City 6 match-ups on Saturday (12/18) at Temple.
Coppin State will travel to George Mason on Thursday (12/23) to go for their second win of the season.