by Matthew MacCormack
PHILADELPHIA — In a thrilling back-and-forth affair, Drexel’s Tramaine Isabell hit a free throw with one second remaining to lift the Dragons over Northeastern, 68-67, on Saturday afternoon at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
The Dragons scored the game’s final seven points after a Tomas Murphy bucket helped Northeastern (14-8, 7-3 CAA) build a 67-61 lead with 2:20 remaining. Drexel (9-14, 3-7) earned their second straight victory, led by 20 points from Isabell and a 13-point, 11-rebound, 6-block performance from big man Austin Williams.
Husky point guard Vasa Pusica finished with 20 points and seven assists. Murphy chipped in 16 points on seven of 10 shooting, and Shawn Occeus (7 pts, 5 steals) was tremendous in limiting Isabelle — who scored 40 points in Thursday’s win over Elon — to just eight of 20 shooting from the field.
Northeastern head coach Bill Coen was not made available for comment after the game.
NU’s Donnell Gresham and Bo Brace each missed the front end of a one-and-one in the final 22 seconds. Drexel intentionally fouled both players to stop the clock.
Isabell was fouled three times in the last 10 seconds . The first time, Isabell knifed into the lane with Drexel down 67-65, and Occeus fouled him. Isabell hit one of two free throws to cut the Drexel deficit to 67-66.
After Brace missed a free throw on the other end, Isabell was again fouled, this time by Murphy. Isabell hit the first to tie the game at 67, and then missed the second.
As players from both teams scrambled for the rebound, Brace fouled Isabell in the corner, sending the Drexel junior to the line for two free throws with one second left. Isabell hit the first and intentionally missed the second with the Dragons up 68-67.
“I knew if I kind of got my body in front of [Brace], the collision would happen,” said Isabell, a transfer from Missouri.
“I kind of flailed my body a little bit but sometimes you have to do stuff like that to win.”
After an inadvertent buzzer gave Northeastern a chance to reset for a prayer with 0.7 seconds left, Pusica missed a fade-way three as the buzzer sounded.
Up next for Northeastern is a battle with College of Charleston on Thursday night. WRBB coverage will begin at 6:45 p.m. with Matt MacCormack and Justin Littman on the call.