Career night for Tramaine Isabell carries Drexel over Elon

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Drexel 83, Elon 79 – Box Score

Coming in losers of five straight games, Drexel desperately needed somebody to step up with a big performance. Still, I don’t think anyone in blue and gold would have reasonably expected to see arguably the best night in the last 30 years of Drexel basketball.

Leading scorer Tramaine Isabell has put together some big games this season, but nothing like the show he put on Thursday night. Isabell dropped 40 points, including 28 in the second half to rally the Dragons back from what had once been a double-digit Elon lead. Not only was it a season and career-high for Isabell, but he became the first Drexel player to score 40 points since Michael Anderson all the way back in 1988. Not overwhelmed by the moment, Isabell laughed and acknowledged he once had a bigger game back home in Seattle:

“My high is 56…I was in 7th grade. I think I took every shot though.”

Against a typically stout Elon defense determined to crowd the paint and force Drexel to beat them from the outside, Isabell did just that, knocking down a career-high 7 threes on 11 attempts. The impressive part of Isabell’s scoring barrage was that he generally let things come to him, working off open feeds from Kurk Lee and the rest of his Drexel teammates. Head coach Zach Spiker praised how well his team worked the ball around:

“We kept taking the right shots. We got good looks. I thought the quality of our looks and patience and poise paid out over the course of the game.”

Sometimes though, it was simply a matter of Isabell having the hot hand. A few of his long-range attempts were simply unguardable, as he pulled up from well beyond even NBA range.

He wasn’t just a one-trick pony though. Isabell recognized when the defense was overplaying his shot, and relentlessly drove into the lane to make some tough finishes around the basket.

After helping keep the Dragons within striking distance throughout the game, a personal 10-0 run from Isabell helped propel his team in front, 77-72, with just outside of one minute remaining. After a key jumper from Alihan Demir, Troy Harper and Sammy Mojica went 4-4 from the foul line in the final minute to maintain a two-possession advantage and close out the victory.

For the Dragons, hopefully a strong team performance (the Dragons committed just 6 turnovers) can be used as something to build on going forward in conference play. Undoubtedly, they’ll have to win some games in the future without getting a once-in-a-30-year-type performance from their leading scorer. Yet, it’s good to know that option is always available.

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