Drexel 81, UCF 56
A sign the length of the student section, likely drawn out in a
dorm hallway earlier in the day with a Sharpie, said it all on
”NIT 2012: Drexel vs. The World.”
Indeed, it’s tough to blame the Dragons these days for feeling
all alone. After a season to remember in the Colonial Athletic
Association, Drexel was viewed as one of the bigger snubs from the
NCAA tournament field on Sunday, and coach Bruiser Flint made it a
point this week to say the team would bounce back and ”try to go
out and win the NIT.”
So far, so good.
Frantz Massenat had 18 points and 14 assists, and Chris Fouch
scored 19, as Drexel (28-6) shook off its weekend disappointment
and trounced Central Florida, 81-56, in the first round of the
”We still have a chance to prove to the world that we’re a good
team,” Fouch said. ”We still have a chance to win a national
Drexel, which set a school record for wins and had four players
in double figures, scored the first nine points, ignited the crowd
of 1,821, and never looked back.
”We played as a team, but we can still play better,” Massenat
said. ”We just have to be ready for the next one.”
”Not bad. We were OK,” he said. ”It was about making the
right play tonight. Guys found the open man.”
The Dragons, who led, 37-24, at the half, outrebounded Central
Florida, 37-30, and will now prepare to host Northern Iowa in the
second round. Some six miles away, the Panthers knocked off St.
Joseph’s, 67-65, to set up the matchup.
”I don’t think our mindset was the greatest, to be honest with
you,” Flint said. ”We should have been up by even more.”
Keith Clanton led the Knights (22-11) with 12 points, and Marcus
Jordan, the son of former NBA great, Michael Jordan, had seven
points, four rebounds, and two assists. In the end, Central
Florida, out of Conference USA, couldn’t handle Drexel’s up-tempo
style, as the Dragons finished with 25 assists and four steals.
”They did a terrific job in transition,” Knights coach Donnie
Jones said of the Dragons. ”They hit some 3s at the end of the
shot clock, so give them credit.
”They are a really good basketball team.”
Central Florida closed the season with back-to-back losses, and
was just 5-5 in its final 10 games after opening 13-3.
”I’m proud of our season,” Jones said. ”This program has done
some good things, and we’re excited about where we’re headed.”
The Dragons have won 20 of their last 21 games.