Wildcats slay Dragons

James Evans

What started out as a grueling game between two Philly teams, turned out to be a second half blowout, as ‘Nova continued its good play, enroute to an 85-70 win over Drexel last Wednesday night.

“It was like a Big 5 game and they [Drexel] really brought it,” head Coach Jay Wright said. “They are an outstanding team; we said it all week how difficult they would be to defend because of their quickness on the perimeter.”

The ‘Cats trailed for most of the first half, as the Dragons played solid defense and were converting on the offensive end. ‘Nova went into halftime down by only six. The Dragons didn’t let up the pressure though in the second half and quickly built a 10 point lead, 45-35.

The ‘Cats did not give up though, as Randy Foye drove to the hole and laid-it in and was fouled. The lay-up started ‘Nova on an 18-0 run, to give them a 53-45 lead.

During the run, Allan Ray was the leader, scoring eight points including forcing the turning point in the game.

“That’s a good win for us, we were down 10 in the second half and we weren’t playing poorly, I think they [Drexel] were just playing great,” Wright said. “We were able to gut it out and we played great defense down the stretch.”

Playing aggressive defense, Ray jumped the passing lane and deflected the ball, picked it up near half court and glided in for a slam dunk. The basket gave ‘Nova its first lead of the game since 4-3, and the ‘Cats would never trail again.

“I think when Allan got the steal and the dunk he got everyone fired up,” Foye said. “We started to play stronger on defense, by just picking it [defensive pressure] up and wanted to get more stops on defense.”

After the slam dunk by Ray, Drexel coach Brusier Flint got a little too animated and was hit with a technical foul. Ray promptly went to line and sank both free-throws, as Villanova continued to build the lead.

The ‘Cats were lead by the trio of Ray, Foye and Curtis Sumpter, as they scored 20, 20 and 14 points, respectively, and also grabbed a combined 26 rebounds.

Drexel came into the game with a record of 18-10, but were coming out of one of the weaker conferences in Division I, the CAA. However, that did not stop ‘Nova from bringing its “A” game.

“We don’t look at any team lightly and think we’re going to beat them, just because we might be from a better division and on our home court,” Foye said. “We come out and take every game seriously.”

The win for the ‘Cats assured them that there season will continue and that is a great thing for this team, as they try and get some postseason experience for a young team that will be back next year.

“This is big for us, we are excited to play,” Wright said. “We had a difficult season, but we stuck together; we have no internal problems. Everyone likes coming to practice everyday, so we wanted to kept it [the season] going.”

“Down 10 at home, there is a lot of pressure on you. When that happened, our guys didn’t panic at all and they stuck to our game plan and that is the sign of a mature team,” Wright said. “That is something that can carry over. These guys are all going to be back next year, and that’s going to be great for us. And we are experiencing how to do the right things to pull out the win.”

The Wildcats will play Virginia this Saturday. The time and the location of the game have yet to be announced.