The Northeastern Huskies got back on track with a win over the vaunted Drexel Dragons to close out their four game homestand with a win, and going 3-1 overall. Many expected this game to be a tightly contested affair, especially because the Dragons were playing without their best player in Damion Lee. This time around the Dragons were missing another player, Kazembe Abif, a critical role player albeit not as important as Lee.
Northeastern seemed ready for the potentially tough game, and came out firing, easily scoring the game’s first ten points and looking dominant early on, but in what has become a constant issue, the Husky offense began to sputter. This sputtering on offense allowed the Dragons to claw their way back into it, mostly on the back of some tremendous offensive rebounding. The interior size and strength provided by Dartaye Ruffin and Gerald McCoy was key as Ruffin finished with a double-double, 12 points and 11 boards and McCoy also collected 11 rebounds as well.
Even with the Dragons finishing +14 on the boards, the two senior co-captains, Jon Lee and Joel Smith for Northeastern, would not let this team die. Things were getting dicey for the Huskies in the second half when Drexel took its largest lead of the game (3 points), but Lee and Smith hit a layup and three respectively to put Northeastern in the lead, which they never relinquished. Jon Lee, who looked pumped early on, wound up scoring his 1,000th point in his Northeastern career with 15:24 left to go in the game. He finished with a game high 17 points as well as 5 rebounds and 4 assists in what was one of his best games since returning from injury.
Lee was also part of the game deciding play, as with 2:27 left to play and the Dragons down seven, Frantz Massenat was called for a questionable flagrant foul, his fifth, on him. Lee was going up for a dunk and Massenat tried for the block but was deemed to have made excessive contact. After Lee nailed both free throws, the game was pretty much decided.
It is also worth noting the incredible job the Huskies did limiting Damion Lee, both from great defense from Joel Smith, who was tasked early on with guarding the best Dragon, as well as switching into a zone every now and then to throw off the Drexel guards. Lee finished with the fewest points in a game this season with seven.
Meanwhile, Joel Smith was the only other husky to finish in double digits with 14 points on 5-8 shooting including 2-3 from behind the arc. The Huskies are leaving the confines of Matthews Arena to play three straight road games against the three cellar dwellers. They start by travelling to Long Island to take on the Hofstra Pride.