Lee scores 34 in Drexel victory

Posted: March 01, 2013

NORFOLK, Va. - It perhaps came too late to salvage a nightmarish season for the Drexel basketball team, but the Dragons finally figured out how to win a close game Thursday night.

Sophomore Damion Lee scored a career-high 34 points, and Drexel got a key steal from Dartaye Ruffin and two foul shots from Frantz Massenat in the final 6 seconds to hold off Old Dominion, 81-77, at the Ted Constant center.

With the victory, the Dragons avoided being swept in the regular-season series by the Colonial Athletic Association's worst team. Old Dominion (4-25, 2-15 CAA) handed Drexel its most lopsided conference loss, 78-66, 3 weeks ago in Philadelphia, just days after longtime ODU coach Blaine Taylor was fired.

Old Dominion, which is playing its last season in the CAA, shut out Lee in the first game with a physical, man-for-man defense.

Much was expected this season of Drexel (12-17, 8-9), which returned four starters from last season's 29-7 NIT team. The Dragons were picked to repeat as CAA regular-season champions, but will be seeded fifth when the seven-team tournament begins March 9 in Richmond.

Drexel has lost four games in overtime and four others by four points or fewer.

"We haven't been able to close out games," said Lee, a sophomore from Baltimore. "We've had a lot of games come down to the last minute, and we haven't been able to make the big play.

"It's been frustrating."

Lee made all nine shots he took in the first half, including six three-pointers, to score 24 points and stake the Dragons to as much as a 15-point lead.

Old Dominion managed to slow him down by playing more physical defense in the second half, said Drexel coach Bruiser Flint.

Drexel, which broke a two-game losing streak, closes out the regular season Saturday night at home against UNC-Wilmington.

"We need to string some wins together and go into the conference tournament with some confidence," Lee said. "It's a three-game tournament, and you win or go home. And we haven't won three games in a row this season."

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