Standing in the Dragons' way were the Monarchs, a team that had won the CAA championship the last two seasons. Blaine Taylor and several of his veteran players; Kent Bazemore and Chris Cooper were eager to end the Dragons' eighteen game winning streak. ODU had scored eighty eight points in their quarterfinal win over Delaware and barely lost at home by a point to Drexel at the end of the regular season.
When you have two of the better defensive teams in the CAA playing each other, chances are you're going to get a low scoring, physical slugfest. Sure enough, neither team could score a basket in the first two and half minutes of the game. It had all the makings of a "First to fifty wins" game, just like Drexel's win over UNCW the day before.
ODU responded with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 15-10 with a little less than seven minutes left in the half. But the Monarchs missed their last four shots in the half, all three point attempts. The Dragons would go into halftime up ten, 27-17.
Drexel only shot thirty three percent in the first half. But they held ODU to twenty seven percent from the field, including two of nine from beyond the arc. Bazemore, who lit up Delaware the day before for fifteen first half points, was held to four points, shooting one of six from the field.
ODU never really threatened again, though they cut the lead in half, 46-38, with Cooper scoring on a three point play. But in the span of ninety seconds, Drexel had the lead back up to fifteen, 55-40, after Damion Lee hit his own three point play. From there, the Monarchs never got closer than ten points. The Dragons, the best three point defensive team in the CAA held the Monarchs to one of nine shooting from beyond the arc in the second half.
The Dragons had four scorers in double figures as Massenat had twenty points, Lee added seventeen, Fouch had sixteen points and Givens had twelve points to go with twelve rebounds. Drexel shot forty eight percent from the field in the second half and thirteen of sixteen from the line. Massenat made nine of ten free throws from the line.
Bazemore and Cooper were the only ODU players in double figures, as each scored twelve points. Bazemore was six of twenty from the field, including missing all five of his three point attempts. Drexel Head Coach Bruiser Flint noted in his post game news conference that his players "stepped out a lot harder" on Bazemore in this game than they did in the regular season finale. In that regular season finale, Bazemore had scored thirty seven points.
I had seen both the ODU-Kentucky and ODU-Missouri games on television. Drexel's performance against Old Dominion was as good or even better than Kentucky's and Missouri's performances. I hadn't seen a Blaine Taylor team dominated like that in a very long time. The Dragons gave the Monarchs their worst loss in the CAA tournament since 2004 (VCU also defeated them in the CAA Semifinals by seventeen points). Taylor was right. Drexel deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament.