Drexel finally catches break on Massenat's miracle

Drexel finally catches break on Massenat's miracle
January 25, 2013, 9:00 am
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Drexel makes unbelievable half-court buzzer-beater

Throughout most of the 2012-13 season, the Drexel basketball team has not been able to catch a break.

The Dragons’ best shooter, Chris Fouch, suffered an early season-ending broken ankle. Key starters Damion Lee, Dartaye Ruffin and Daryl McCoy have also been hampered by injuries. They lost games in overtime and in the final minutes of regulation. Players that led the team to a 29-win season a year ago have struggled to live up to the expectations that made the Dragons the preseason pick to win the Colonial Athletic Association.

Everything, it seemed, was going wrong … until Wednesday night at Hofstra.

That’s when Frantz Massenat made what might just be the best shot of the college basketball season.

If you haven’t yet seen the video, which already has over 12,000 views on YouTube, the junior point guard received a pass from the baseline in the final seconds of a tied CAA game, got trapped by two Hofstra defenders in the backcourt, briefly lost the ball before splitting the defenders, and then heaved up a double-clutch prayer from beyond the halfcourt line.

The fact that he had the strength to even reach the rim in that situation was remarkable. The fact that the ball swished through the hoop was a minor miracle.

“We practice those things a lot but they never work in practice, to be honest,” Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said from his office a day later. “But this went in. We got a little luck this time.”

The buzzer-beater gave the Dragons a 55-52 victory and set off a wild celebration, with Flint throwing in his arms in the air and giving Massenat an epic butt-slap –- which Massenat said he didn’t even feel at the time.

Back in the locker room after the game, though, Flint made sure to remind his guard he got a little lucky. The Drexel head coach even later tweeted, “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”

“Coach was making jokes about it,” Massenat said from the floor of the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Thursday. “He said it was about time we got lucky. And he told me it was about time I made a shot that game.”

Massenat indeed struggled during most of Wednesday’s game, missing seven of his first nine shots against a Hofstra team the Dragons probably should have had an easier time beating.

But none of that mattered following the game.

On the ride back from Hofstra, with the texts and calls starting to roll in, Massenat encouraged Drexel sports information director Mike Tuberosa to put the video online (not an easy thing to do from a bus) so his friends and family could see it. Soon enough, the clip was on YouTube and blogs and websites started picking it up. By the end of the night, the buzzer-beater had made SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays.

“I’ve watched it about five times on SportsCenter,” Massenat said, a smile plastered to his face. “I stayed up late, woke up early, went to class, came back and watched it again. I’ve probably watched it about 20 times on the computer. I keep replaying and it keep looking at different people’s reactions.

“I’m just enjoying everyone’s reaction,” he added. “I’m reading everyone’s reaction [on Twitter] because why not? It’s not like this happens to me every day.”

It certainly doesn’t. In fact, Massenat said it was the first time he ever made a game-winning shot at any level –- although he has missed a couple of them. And earlier this season, he was the one playing defense on Northeastern’s Quincy Ford, who made SportsCenter with an off-balance three-pointer to send the game to overtime against Drexel.

Northeastern, which is still unbeaten in conference play, ended up winning that game in OT –- one of the many stinging losses for Drexel this season.

Perhaps now, though, luck is finally on the side of the Dragons (7-11 overall, 3-3 CAA), who will try to win their third straight game with a home game Saturday vs. Georgia State.

“Guys get injured, we lose at the buzzer, guys hit shots on us, we’re on SportsCenter the other end,” Massenat said. “So for us to get something going our way is good.

“Things feel like they’re about to start going our way.”

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