Rankin, second on Drexel's all-time scoring list, ended his brilliant
college career with a team-high 23 points, but it came on 7-for-16 shooting
from the floor. The ECC first-team selection was hardly alone in that category, though. As a team, the Dragons shot 38.6 percent, with Todd Lehmann, the league's third-highest scorer, struggling through a 2-for-13 afternoon
from the field on his way to 16 points.
Coming into yesterday's game, Drexel (12-16) had lost five of its last six. Hofstra (14-14) had won six of its last seven. It was clear that the Dragons had to assert themselves early to keep the Dutchmen from going on a roll, but Drexel came out sputtering.
"I take a large responsibility for that," an emotional Rankin said after the game. "I wanted to get it going so much, I forced maybe the first four or five shots. No one really expected them, and it was out of the offense and we weren't in good rebounding position. Hofstra capitalized on it, and we dug a hole too deep for ourselves and just couldn't get out of it."
After Rankin's first field goal of the day gave the Dragons a 9-8 lead, Hofstra guard Carlos DiCenta spearheaded a nine-point run, and the Dutchmen would never trail again.
After taking a 37-32 lead into the locker room, Hofstra cracked the game open with a 16-2 run midway through the second half and took a 69-51 lead. Drexel threatened to make a game of it with its own 12-point binge that closed the gap to 71-65 with 1 minute, 31 seconds left, but 6-for-6 foul shooting by Dutchmen forward Jim Shanahan down the stretch sealed the win for Hofstra.
The difference in yesterday's game, though, was DiCenta, who scored a game- high 25 points, including four three-pointers. DiCenta had missed the first regular-season game against Drexel, a Dragons win, with a dislocated finger and was held to five points in the rematch, a Hofstra victory.