Drexel upsets Alabama in triple overtime

Posted: December 01, 2013

NEW YORK - As Drexel and Alabama headed to a third overtime period Friday evening at Madison Square Garden, a portion of the crowd eager for the main event showered down a chorus of boos.

They didn't realize they were already watching it.

Shorthanded by injury and hounded by foul trouble, Drexel outlasted Alabama, 85-83, in triple overtime to win the third-place game of the NIT Tip-Off Tournament.

After falling just short against ranked opponents UCLA and Arizona, the Dragons (4-2) finally broke through for a win on the national stage.

"We weren't happy just to be in the tournament," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "That's not my thing. I'm real honest with my team, and I told them, 'We can play with anybody.' "

On Friday, that took major contributions from unlikely places.

Tavon Allen, making his first start of the season in place of injured guard Damion Lee, scored 16 points.

Forward Kazembe Abif came off the bench to score 15 points and pull down 11 rebounds.

Three Drexel starters fouled out, including Frantz Massenat, who had 17 points.

But the greatest contribution came from exactly the place Flint expected.

Chris Fouch, a Bronx native playing at the Garden for the first time since high school, picked off a pass and scored on a layup with 12 seconds left to tie it at 61 and force overtime.

He led Drexel with 19 points.

"When things get tough, he's the guy that steps up for us," Flint said.

Drexel, which led by as many as 11 in the first half, didn't trail until 4 minutes, 33 seconds were left in regulation.

The Dragons also led in the final minute of the first two overtimes.

Retin Obasohan kept the Crimson Tide (3-3) alive by hitting a pair of free throws at the end of the first and second overtimes.

"We probably won and lost it eight times," Flint said.

It was the first triple- overtime game for Drexel since the Dragons lost to Siena, 126-115, in 1978.

There easily could have been a fourth.

Alabama's Jimmie Taylor had two free throws to try to tie it with three seconds left in the final overtime. The crowd, now completely filled in for the title game between Duke and Arizona, howled as if it was a Drexel home game.

Taylor missed both.


tmcmanus@philly.com

@ByTimMcManus

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