Drexel (11-16) at Towson (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Towson Center Arena (5,250) -- Towson, Maryland. Television: None. Home Record: Drexel 4-8, Towson 4-5. Away Record: Drexel 6-6, Towson 8-8. Neutral Record: Drexel 1-2, Towson 3-0. Conference Record: Drexel 7-8, Towson 10-5. Series Record: Drexel leads, 46-14.
GAME NOTES: The Drexel Dragons continue their three-game road trip on Saturday afternoon, as they stop off in Maryland for a Colonial Athletic Association matchup with the Towson Tigers.
Drexel dropped a heart-breaker at Delaware on Thursday night, losing 73-71 in double-overtime for its fourth setback in the past six games. The Dragons are just 11-16 this season and 7-8 in the CAA, but oddly enough they have performed better on the road (6-6) than at home (4-8).
After finishing the 2011-12 campaign with just one win, Towson has been one of the nation's biggest surprises this season at 15-13 overall and 10-5 in the CAA, which ties it for second place in the league standings with Delaware. The Tigers have been playing some of their best basketball in recent weeks with wins in five of their last six, including a 57-50 triumph at Hofstra last Saturday.
Towson defeated Drexel in Philadelphia in the first meeting between the teams this season, 69-66, on Jan. 5, but the Dragons had won the previous seven matchups and still lead the all-time series, 46-14.
Drexel held a lead late in the second half against Delaware and again late in the first overtime, but it failed to close the door either time, and it was eventually bested in what was a devastating two-point defeat. Although the Dragons played close to mistake-free basketball with just five turnovers, they were hindered by poor field goal shooting (.347), which included a dismal 6- of-23 showing from 3-point range. Damion Lee's final stat line looked impressive (25 points, 11 rebounds, three steals), but he shot only 9-of-25 from the floor. Derrick Thomas added 19 points, while Frantz Massenat tallied 17 points and six assists. On the season, Drexel boasts the league's top- ranked scoring defense, allowing only 63.0 ppg, but its lackluster scoring offense (62.4 ppg) has led to most of its struggles. Lee is the CAA's fourth- leading scorer with 17.1 ppg, draining 50 3-pointers along the way. Massenat shoots only 36.3 percent from the floor but still contributes 14.1 ppg and 4.3 apg.
Towson was slowed down in its latest game by shooting poorly at the foul line (13-of-24) and by committing 20 turnovers, but it shot greater than 51 percent from the field and outrebounded Hofstra by a dominating 41-25 margin on its way to the eight-point road win. The Tigers frontcourt beat up on the undersized Pride, as Jerrelle Benimon (17 points, seven rebounds), Marcus Damas (11 points, eight rebounds) and Bilal Dixon (eight points, six rebounds) all had solid games. Benimon has been arguably the CAA's best big man this season, as he shoots 53.2 percent from the floor for 16.6 ppg, logs two blocks per game and leads the league with 11.3 rpg. Damas has also been a consistent producer with 11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 1.0 bpg, while Jerome Hairston (9.4 ppg) and Mike Burwell (9.3 ppg) are solid out on the perimeter. As a team, Towson scores 1.8 ppg more than its opponents and has the top rebounding margin in the league (+6.6).
Drexel has performed surprisingly well on the road this season, and its playmakers at the guard position have a leg up on Towson's backcourt players, but the Tigers' advantage on the inside will be too much for the Dragons to overcome, especially playing on short rest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 66, Drexel 61
02/23 10:42:50 ET