Saint Joseph's (6-4) at Drexel (4-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 31, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Daskalakis Center (2,532) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: TCN-PHI. Home Record: Saint Joseph's 4-1, Drexel 1-2. Away Record: Saint Joseph's 1-2, Drexel 2-3. Neutral Record: Saint Joseph's 1-1, Drexel 1-2. Conference Record: Saint Joseph's 0-0, Drexel 0-0. Series Record: Saint Joseph's leads, 43-9.
GAME NOTES: Philadelphia rivals close out the 2012 calendar year against each other, as the Drexel Dragons welcome the Saint Joseph's Hawks to the Daskalakis Center on Monday afternoon.
Playing in their home building for just the fourth time this season, the Dragons have just one win to show for their efforts in front of the hometown crowd thanks to a 69-58 triumph over visiting Davidson back on Dec. 22. That win was the second in the last three games for a program which has a total of just four wins in 11 tries.
As for the Hawks, they were wrapped up in a wild offensive bout with Iona on Friday, their second straight opponent from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, but unlike the team's 60-57 loss to Fairfield on Dec. 22, this time Saint Joseph's produced a 96-91 win at home. The Hawks not only snapped a two-game slide, but they also scored a season-high in points in the process for head coach Phil Martelli.
The series between these two teams has been very lopsided, with the Hawks winning all but nine of the previous 52 meetings since they began playing during the 1918-19 campaign. However, the Dragons have earned a split of the last four games in order to make things a bit more respectable of late.
The Hawks shot an impressive 56.9 percent from the floor, including 11-of-22 behind the 3-point line against Iona a few days ago, but still the hosts won by just five points. Carl Jones finished with a season-high 32 points on 12- of-19 from the floor, followed by C.J. Aiken with a career-high 22 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots, while Langston Galloway responded with 23 points as he knocked down half of his eight 3-point tries and was a perfect 5-of-5 at the free-throw line. For Jones, the scoring burst was a much-needed performance after he scored just three points in the loss to Fairfield six days prior. Jones is now scoring 16.0 ppg, followed by Galloway (15.1 ppg) and Aiken (11.9 ppg) on a squad that is generating 68.7 ppg. Expected to be making his return for the Hawks, after sitting out two games due to unsportsmanlike conduct versus Villanova, is Halil Kanacevic (8.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) who is a much- needed force in the paint.
Coming off the bench for a change, Damion Lee erupted for 26 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Dragons as he helped guide the team to the win over Davidson at home. Lee connected on all eight of his free-throw attempts, but just 2-of-7 behind the 3-point line, the team converting just 5- of-15 collectively beyond the arc. Frantz Massenat accounted for 14 points and six of the group's 18 assists in the triumph, while Daryl McCoy added another nine boards as the squad crushed the Wildcats on the glass, 40-14. One of the top scorers in the Colonial Athletic Association, Lee is producing 18.6 ppg in an effort to pick up the slack left by Chris Fouch who appeared in just three games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Massenat is the only other active double-digit scorer for the program with 13.3 ppg, adding a team- best 50 assists in order to keep his teammates involved in the action.
The loss of Fouch has put quite a bit of pressure on the rest of the Dragons and that's not something that is easily handled, so expect to see Saint Joseph's take advantage and come out on top.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Joseph's 73, Drexel 63
12/31 10:35:33 ET