Drexel regains shooting touch, defeats Niagara, 71-58

Posted: December 14, 2011

LEWISTON, N.Y. - A dominant stretch of defense and return-to-form shooting from Chris Fouch carried Drexel to a 71-58 win over Niagara in a nonconference game Tuesday.

The Dragons (4-4) held the Purple Eagles (3-5) without a field goal for a span of 14 minutes, 15 seconds in the second half, turning an eight-point deficit into a 19-point lead in the process.

"That's our bread and butter. We play defense, we lock teams down and rebound," said Fouch, who scored a season-high 24 points after going for 23 in Saturday's win over Princeton. "Once we started doing that, we started feeling a lot more comfortable on offense and started making plays."

Fouch scored 19 of his points during the deciding 29-4 run. In his first three games back after offseason knee surgery, the junior guard shot 3 for 16 from three-point range. He was 1 for 4 from beyond the arc in the first half Tuesday, but made 5 of 8 in the second half.

While Niagara shot 20.7 percent from the field in the second half after making 52.2 percent of its attempts in the first, Drexel shot an even 50 percent in both halves for its best performance of the season. Drexel came into the game shooting 38.3 percent from the field, tied for 319th nationally.

Freshman forward Damion Lee made four three-pointers to score 19 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds. Working the middle of the floor against Niagara's zone, senior forward Samme Givens had 17 points, eight rebounds and matched a career-high with five assists.

"Samme, he hasn't played like this," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "I don't know if we'd be 4-4 if he was playing like this more often."

The Dragons won despite matching a season-high with 18 turnovers against Niagara's full-court press.

Philadelphia native Juan'ya Green led Niagara with 22 points. The Archbishop Carroll graduate, who is now averaging 19.9 points, second nationally among freshmen, scored eight points and assisted on two three-pointers during an 18-6 run that put Niagara up 37-28 just before halftime.

"He knows what he's doing out there and he's going to be a really, really good guard for Niagara," Flint said.

Scooter Gillette (Neumann-Goretti) scored inside on the first possession of the second half to put Niagara up 39-31 before Drexel went on its long run.

Drexel junior guard Derrick Thomas (illness) missed his second straight game.

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