By AARON COLEMAN
The Drexel Dragons are flying high after grabbing their third-straight victory following a 75-61 victory over a struggling Tennessee State Tigers squad that has now dropped their first 10 games of the season.
Led by another strong performance by star point guard Frantz Massenat (who knocked down four threes and ended the day with 21 points, six assists, and three rebounds) and a five three-point night from Chris Fouch (who finished with 20 points on the afternoon), the Dragons shot 48 percent from the field and outrebounded the Tigers 34-25 en route to their second straight win in front of their rapid DAC Pack supporters.
The scrappy squad from Tennessee jumped out to quick 14-11 lead in the first six minutes of the initial half, delighting their small but vocal fan section that made the long trek north. However, a six-minute 14-1 run by Drexel grabbed them a double-digit lead that they would take into halftime. Massenat and Fouch combined for 20 points between them as the team shot a scorching 59 percent from the field and knocked down six three-pointers.
But the real story of the game was the big performance by freshman guard Major Canady, who set a career-high with eight points, all in the first half. Head Coach James “Bruiser” Flint decided to let Canady run the point to end the final minutes of the half, allowing Massenat to play 2-guard and giving Fouch a nice bit of rest. Canady responded in a big way, displaying a sweet pull-up jumper and an ability to get to the basket and finish.
When asked about the freshman’s performance, Flint told reporters: “He played good today. I told him after the game that it’s easy when you make it easy. I told him that he was never going to be guarded and to shoot your pull-up jumper. He didn’t try nothing crazy. He played within himself.”
Massenat was impressed as well, stating: “I get excited when he does well. He’s the next point guard up.”
But the first-year guard was a bit peeved with the perceived lack of respect from the Tennessee State defense, telling reporters: “It’s disrespectful. I had to show them that I could score the ball. I took it as disrespect and I did a good job making them pay for it.”
It’s great to see such a young player displaying such fire and intensity and translating it to the court.
The hard-luck Tigers squad never gave up though as they fought hard in the second half, whittling the Drexel led down to as much as six with 6:16 to go as star guard Patrick Miller scored 12 in the final half (he finished with 21) and the Tigers’ defense held Drexel to just 34 percent shooting. However, a subsequent 9-0 run by the Dragons iced their third-straight win without star guard Damion Lee.
The Dragons did a good job extinguishing TSU’s runs before the got out of control and got another home victory over a team that they should have beat. Canady told reporters: “Last year, Drexel had a lot of struggles so we aren’t going to take anyone lightly.”
The win takes the Dragons to 6-2 on the young season and they will travel to North Carolina next week to face the 3-5 Davidson Wildcats on the 15th.
-Aaron Coleman covers Drexel for Philahoops. Reach him at [email protected], @shutupcole on Twitter, or leave a comment below.