It was closer than it should have been, but the Drexel Dragons were able to hold of the Northern Iowa Panthers, 65-63, in NIT Tournament second-round contest in Philadelphia, PA. The victory advances the Dragons (29-6) to the Elite 8 and a match-up with the UMass Minutemen.
Leading 38-28 at halftime, and at one point by 18 points in the first half, the Dragons had their lead trimmed to 61-60 with 24 seconds to go in the game. After pushing its lead back to four points, 64-60, NIU hit a 3-pointer with just :09 to go to. Another free throw by Drexel's Frantz Massenat extended the lead back to two, however, and the victory was cemented when a desperation 3-point by NIU's Johnny Moran hit the front of the rim as time expired.
Senior forward Samme Given scored 16 of his game-high 28 points in the first half for Drexel, which improves to 15-0 at home this season. Junior guard Chris Fouch netted 16 points, including four 3-pointers, three of those coming during a 14-0 run in the first half that helped the Dragons earn a 33-15 lead.
The Panthers battled back into the game using 19 points from Moran and a solid 3-point shooting effort (10-for-23).
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