By Sean Kennedy
Drexel 77, Hofstra 74
The Dragons are finally starting to return to health, with Kazembe Abif and Dartaye Ruffin both back on the floor, and Tavon Allen clearly still hampered by his ankle injury, but at least out there and able to give them some minutes. A healthy Drexel team might be bad news for the rest of the CAA, as the Dragons held on for a three point victory against the Pride behind a huge night from Frantz Massenat. The senior guard continued his recent scoring surge, hitting 6 of 9 threes to score a career-high 32 points, and adding in 9 assists for good measure. Massenat has now scored at least 19 points in 7 straight games, with 2 30-point outings over that stretch, really stepping up for the Dragons when they’ve need him.
Chris Fouch added 19 points for Drexel on 4-11 three-point shooting, as the senior backcourt of he and Massenat continue to shoulder a huge proportion of the scoring load for the Dragons. Hofstra leading scorer Zeke Upshaw scored 27 points of his own, as his team overcame a big Drexel halftime lead to hold take a lead of their own in the second half, setting up a back and forth affair which the Dragons where able to prevail in when all was said and done. Drexel will head down to Maryland this weekend, looking for revenge against a Towson club that defeated them at home a couple weeks ago.
George Washington 69, La Salle 47
George Washington features a deep and balanced roster and with all of them seemingly on their game Wednesday night, the Explorers never stood a chance. Four Colonials starters finished in double figures and the team shot 52% as a whole, as GW jumped out to a huge first half lead and never looked back. Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood once again gave the Explorers fits on the interior, dropping another double-double against them with a team-high 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Tyreek Duren did his best to keep La Salle somewhat close, as he had an excellent game with a game-high 22 points on 7-13 shooting (4-6 from three) and 5 steals. However, coming off a career-high 30-point outing, Tyrone Garland cooled off in a big way, shooting just 1-14 from the field for 5 points. The Explorers aren’t a deep enough roster to have their second-leading scorer through that kind of egg on the board and survive. Now back to .500 in conference play and in the midst of a 3-game losing streak, La Salle will look to shake it off at home against Duquesne Saturday.
Saint Joseph’s 60, Dayton 57
Langston Galloway has really had it going from three-point range from recent games, and sometimes when you’re hot, shots just have a way of going in. Fortunately for the Hawks, that was the case Wednesday night as Galloway banked in a game-winning three with 2 seconds remaining to send the Hawks home happy on the trip back from Ohio. St. Joe’s had gone on a 27-5 run early in the second half to turn a 7-point deficit into a 15-point lead. However, the Flyers roared back behind the hot shooting of Jordan Sibert and Devin Oliver, who combined for 37 points and 9-19 shooting behind the arc, with teammate Dyshawn Pierre’s lay-in finally tying the game for Dayton just prior to Galloway’s game-winner.
Chris Wilson led the Hawks with 15 points, as he and Galloway combined to shoot 6-13 from three on the evening. Halil Kanacevic did his best to neutralize the bigger Dayton frontcourt, blocking 2 shots and securing 11 defensive rebounds to ensure the rebounding advantage wasn’t too much in favor of the Flyers. Given Dayton’s size advantage, St. Joe’s did well to hold them to just 38% shooting on the night any road victory in conference is a good win, regardless if you almost let a double-digit lead slip through your fingers. The Hawks will return home for the next three games to face a murderer’s row of A-10 opponents in UMass, St. Louis, and VCU.
Temple 88, Rutgers 82
At long last, the Owls threw the monkey off their back, beating the Scarlet Knights to secure their first win in the new AAC after falling short in their first 7 attempts. Temple almost blew the game late, as Rutgers came all the way back from a 20-point deficit with 17 minutes remaining to actually take a 1-point lead with just under 3 minutes left in the game. However, this time Temple would not go home hearts broken, as Will Cummings stepped up with 4 straight points for the Owls, re-gaining a lead the team would not relinquish.
Cummings was the driving force behind the Owls’ success all game long, finishing with a game-high 21 points and a career-high 8 assists. Dalton Pepper added 20 points despite cooling off a bit behind the arc, shooting just 2-10 from downtown. The fact that Temple blew a 20-point lead against a team that has been struggling as much as Rutgers has to be concerning, but at this point, I’m sure they’re just glad to get their first win of 2014. Their newfound winning ways might not last long though, as Villanova comes knocking this weekend in a Big 5 battle.