PHILADELPHIA - In a game that was tight for all 45 minutes, the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team had two chances to win Tuesday night’s game at Drexel at the buzzer -- once at the end of regulation and one at the end of overtime.
Both shots were off the mark, however, and it was the Dragons who escaped the Daskalakis Athletic Center with a 53-52 win. It was a game in which neither team ever held a lead bigger than four points.
Antonio Woods had the final shot both times. His effort in regulation never really stood a chance. His overtime chance, with Penn down a point, got to the rim but could not muscle over it, and Darien Nelson-Henry’s desperation tip was a little too hard off the iron. The ball bounced around until Drexel’s Tavon Allen was able to come up with it just as the buzzer sounded.
It was an unfortunate way for Woods’ night to be remembered, as he ended the game leading all scorers with 17 points and had the Quakers’ last six points in the extra session. Nelson-Henry, meanwhile, collected his fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Penn (5-6) scored the first four points in overtime, on layups by Darnell Foreman and Woods. Drexel (2-8) then scored seven in a row, starting with a three-pointer by Rashann London and ending with a pair of Kazembe Abif free throws. Woods made it a one-point game on a nice layup with just over a minute remaining, and then matched free throws with Drexel’s Terrell Allen. After Woods’ free throws, Tavon Allen was called for a walk when Drexel inbounded, giving the Quakers the final opportunity that fell just short.
This game was marked by droughts on both sides -- and the other team’s inability to pull away when those droughts occurred. For example, Penn was stuck on 32 points from the 15:29 mark of the second half all the way until Nelson-Henry finally scored with just 6:59 to play. Drexel, meanwhile, scored just eight points during that 8:30 span.
After trailing for nearly eight minutes, Penn took a 42-41 lead with 1:24 left when Mike Auger -- who made his first start of the season -- hit a layup in the paint, was fouled, and buried the free throw for the old-fashioned trey. Abif hit a foul shot to tie it with 1:06 left, but Woods put the Quakers back in front with 43 seconds to play on a layup. However, Tavon Allen was fouled and made both freebies to tie it up at 44-44, setting the stage for Woods’ first winning attempt.
Tavon Allen had 16 points to lead the way for the Dragons, while Abif finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds. London had 14 points.
Penn is off until after Christmas; the Quakers’ next game will take place on Monday, when they are at Villanova in their third Big 5 tilt of the season. That contest will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.