By Sean Kennedy
Northeastern 54, Drexel 52
It’s a good thing the regular season finale didn’t much matter for the Dragons because what happened Saturday afternoon was the type of loss that could really haunt a team. Up 5 in the final minute, Drexel twice missed the front-end of a 1-and-1, and when Dartaye Ruffin fouled David Walker on a three-point attempts in the final seconds, the Northeastern comeback was complete.
A 12-1 run in second half by the Dragons gave them a lead that they held until the last-minute collapse. Chris Fouch hit 5 threes on his way to a game-high 26 points, but he was the only Dragon in double figures. Northeastern out-rebounded Drexel 45-35 as both members of the Dragons front line were in foul trouble all afternoon. Ruffin and Rodney Williams both had three fouls before halftime, eventually fouling out, and were each limited to under 20 minutes of game action. Already locked into the fourth seed, Drexel will face Northeastern in a rematch next Saturday in their first conference tournament game.
Saint Joseph’s 83, St. Bonaventure 74
Home court advantage wasn’t enough for a Bonnies squad against a surging St. Joe’s club that has now won 6 straight games. The Hawks had held a slim lead the majority of the game until an Isaiah Miles three gave them their first double-digit lead late in the second half. Langston Galloway played all 40 minutes and carried the offense for St. Joes throughout the contest with 27 points, his second-highest point total of the season.
It was a great overall team effort for the Hawks though, as they shot 54% from the field as a team. DeAndre Bembry contributed 18 points and Ronald Roberts added 15 points on 7-8 shooting until fouling out in the closing minutes. The Bonnies’ Matthew Wright did his beat to keep St. Bonaventure hanging around, but his 27 points weren’t enough to prevent his team’s third straight loss. The Hawks The Hawks finish out the regular season against George Washington and La Salle, and their spirits couldn’t be higher at this point.
La Salle 64, Fordham 62
There were plenty of discouraging aspects of Saturday’s La Salle, but for one moment, the Explorers re-captured that magic from a season ago. La Salle led by as many as 15 in this contest, but Fordham continued to fight back and repeatedly get the deficit to within one. Finally, on the Rams’ final possession, they managed to tie the game and it looked like there might be bonus basketball. However, La Salle had one final opportunity, and in-bounding the ball underneath their own basket with 0.7 seconds left, they got it to Tyreek Duren, who flipped the ball up in the process of falling down, banking it in as the buzzer sounded for the victory.
For the Explorer, Sam Mills had a big first half and finished with 18 points, going 4-8 from three. Jerrell Wright also contributed 14 points and 9 rebounds as he continues to be the most consistent part of the La Salle offense. Branden Frazier fought hard to get Fordham back in the game, putting up 23 points and 6 assists. The Explorers have now won two straight game and will next play their final home game of the year against George Mason.
Yale 70, Pennsylvania 63
For the second time this season, the Quakers had no answer for Yale big man Justin Sears, as the 6’8″ sophomore dropped 24 points on to help the Bulldogs remain within striking distance with Harvard at the top of the Ivy League. In his final collegiate home game, Penn senior Miles Jackson-Cartwright led the way with 20 points and 7 assists, while the future of the program, Tony Hicks and Darien Nelson-Henry, each chipped in with 15 points apiece. It wasn’t the worst effort from the Quakers, but Yale had plenty more to play for, and that aggressiveness showed in the 31-14 disparity between free throw attempts. The Quakers will have to sweep their final three road games to finish .500 in the Ivy League on the season.
Houston 89, Temple 79
It would seem that the Owls’ defensive woes extend to unranked opponents as well, as Temple allowed Houston to tie their season-high for points in a game for their 4th-straight loss. The Cougars’ TyShawn Thomas scored 24 points in an almost identical offensive performance to the teams’ first meeting; Houston as a team shot a blistering 62% from the field. The Owls hung around simply by taking care of the ball. Temple had just 1 turnover at halftime and finished with a season-low 4 on the game. Dalton Pepper hit 4 threes on his way to a team-high 24 points, and Will Cummings added 18 points and 8 assists, but with the Owls looking like the Washington Generals defensively, it wasn’t enough. Temple will next celebrate Senior Night on Tuesday against Central Florida.
2:00 PM: Villanova (25-3, 13-2 Big East) vs. Marquette (17-11, 9-6 Big East) – CBS
The Wildcats will look to keep their 3-game winning streak going when they host a Marquette team with their tournament chances on life support. With three regular season games remaining, the Golden Eagles likely need to win all three to remain on the bracket bubble, so they’ll be plenty fired up against a Villanova team they fell to in overtime in Wisconsin back in February. The Wildcats currently find themselves a half-game up on Creighton for the regular season conference championship. With the Blue Jays holding the tiebreaker against them, Jay Wright’s squad would surely like to sweep their final three games as well to ensure the #1 seed in the Big East tournament, and likely then, a #2 seed in the overall NCAA tournament field. Playing at the Wells Fargo Center, there’s no reason that dream should be derailed today.