Instant Replay: Drexel 85, Cleveland State 82 (3OT)

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Instant Replay: Drexel 85, Cleveland State 82 (3OT)

BOX SCORE

Drexel won its second straight triple-overtime game Wednesday night with an 85-82 victory over visiting Cleveland State.

Tied at 58 after 40 minutes of play, neither team could shake one another in the first extra period, and though Cleveland State held an advantage for the majority of the second OT, the Dragons fought back with tough defense and late free throws to send it to the third overtime.

In the third bonus period, the Dragons relied heavily on senior forward Dartaye Ruffin, who scored five of his team’s 11 points in the final five minutes for the win.

Frantz Massenat guided the Dragons to the victory with 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds, including two free throws with seven seconds left in the third overtime.

Senior forward Jon Harris led the way for Cleveland State. After managing just two points in 11 first half minutes, he finished with a game-high 24 points on 7 of 11 shooting.

First half
In the team’s previous four games, the Dragons held their opponents to 23 points or fewer in the first 20 minutes. Wednesday night was no different as they held Cleveland State to 20 first-half points on 36 percent shooting.

While the defense led the show, the Dragons couldn’t find their offensive rhythm early and the game was tied 15-15 with 7:33 left. The Dragons rode a 15-2 run in the next 6:06 en route to a 30-20 halftime lead.

The Vikings’ Sebastian Douglas initially did a good job of guarding Drexel’s Chris Fouch, who was held to just three points in the first 13 minutes. But Fouch came alive in the final seven, finishing the half with a team-high 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting.

Tavon Allen’s first half was more of the same as the sophomore guard continued to struggle since his two-game explosion in New Jersey two weeks ago. He shot just 1 for 6 from the field and committed two fouls.

Bryn Forbes, the Vikings’ leading scorer heading into Wednesday night’s contest, couldn’t find his rhythm from behind the arc. Normally a 49 percent shooter from three, Forbes missed all three of his open looks from deep in 15 first-half minutes and scored just two points.

Inside the box score
• The Vikings’ Harris entered the game averaging just nine points per game through seven games. Wednesday night he scored a career-high 27 points on 8 of 12 shooting.

• Drexel grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to Cleveland State’s seven, resulting in 23 second-chance points for Bruiser Flint’s squad.

• Neither team led by more than four points in the final 25:20 of the game.

Halftime adjustments
Cleveland State entered the game shooting 43 percent from the field through seven games. In the first half Wednesday night, the Vikings managed just 36 percent.

But the second half was a different story as they went 14 of 20 from the field, including 6 of 8 from behind the arc and 4 of 5 from the free throw line.

The Vikings finished exactly 50 percent from the field.

What's next?
Drexel hosts to Tennessee State (0-8) Saturday at 4 p.m., while Cleveland State heads to Akron (1-2) Saturday at 2 p.m.

Big 5 Hall of Fame inducts 'maybe the greatest class we've ever put together'

Big 5 Hall of Fame inducts 'maybe the greatest class we've ever put together'

About midway through Monday night's Big 5 Hall of Fame ceremony, the oldest inductee of this year's class paid homage to the youngest.

That's how much hoops legend George Raveling, a 1960 Villanova graduate, was blown away by Penn alum Ibrahim Jaaber's impassioned speech that ended with a powerful poem about how basketball saved him.

"It kept running through my mind that you represent everything good about sports," Raveling said to Jaaber. "And I hope you'll continue to use your wisdom, your influence, to make the game better, to make the world better. As a 79-year-old-man, soon to be 80 in June, I want to tell you that if I come back in the next life, I want to be like you."

That touching moment, in many ways, was a perfect encapsulation of the ties that bind the Big 5, from one generation to the next. But aside from Raveling and longtime Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter Bill Lyon -- who, despite battling Alzheimer's, courageously gave an acceptance speech to a standing ovation at the Palestra -- this year's class was filled with contemporary guards who clashed in some great Big 5 games not too long ago.

Among them were two current NBA players in Saint Joseph's icon Jameer Nelson (class of 2004) and former 'Nova star Randy Foye (2006), as well as Temple's Lynn Greer (2002) and Jaaber (2007). La Salle women's player Carlene Hightower (2008) was the other member of the star-studded class defined by tough, gritty Philadelphia guards.

"The inductees here for the Hall of Fame have got to be maybe the greatest class we've ever put together," said Villanova head coach Jay Wright, who closed the night by accepting the Big 5 Coach of the Year award right after Josh Hart took home Player of the Year honors. "I grew up in Philadelphia and we always talk about what a great place the Palestra is -- and it is. But when you listen to Lynn, Randy, Coach Rav, Ibby, Jameer, you know why this is a great place. It's because of all the great man that have played here -- outstanding, humble, articulate, intelligent men that understand they're part of something that's bigger than themselves. That's what makes the Big 5. That's what makes the Palestra."

Nelson, the National Player of the Year during St. Joe’s historic 2003-04 season, certainly showed what kind of person he is, inviting all of his old Hawks teammates who were in attendance to stand behind him as he accepted his Hall of Fame award. And he even choked up at one point as he described what those teammates, coach Phil Martelli and Saint Joseph's University have meant to him as he's forged a long and fruitful NBA career.

"Without them, none of this would be possible," said Nelson, the Hawks' all-time leader in points (2,094) and assists (713). "These guys mean the world to me."

Nelson, now with the Denver Nuggets, just wrapped up his 13th season in the NBA, calling it an "unbelievable ride" for a 5-foot-11 kid from Chester. That's two more years spent in the league than Foye, who Nelson thanked for forcing him to be better back in their college days. He also called Greer one of his "great friends" and said that Jaaber's speech "touched me in so many different ways, I wish more young kids could hear it."

"I'm very grateful to be inducted with you guys," Nelson said, although he did point out that when he was at St. Joe's, the Hawks had Villanova down 43-9 at halftime one year. 

"But those next couple years, we payed y'all back," said Foye, now with the Brooklyn Nets, during his own speech.

Those rivalries were especially meaningful to Foye, who also played against Jaaber in both high school and college.

"Being from North Jersey, you never hear about the Big 5," said Foye, a first-team All-American and Big 5 Player of the Year in 2006. "For me coming here and witnessing it up close and personal, it's just something truly amazing."

Foye added that everywhere he goes, he tries to embody what a Philly guard is -- "small but play big," as he put it -- while reminding people that he's proud to be a Villanova alum. The same can be said of Raveling, a longtime college coach and executive who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

"I'm so proud to say I'm a Big 5 product -- and a proud graduate of Villanova University," Raveling said. "I look back many times and realize the wisest decision I ever made in my lifetime was to enroll at Villanova University."

Just as he opened his speech, Raveling also closed it by saying he was "proud" to enter the Big 5 Hall of Fame the same year as Jaaber, whose remarks touched on spirituality, family and a unique journey from Morocco to New Jersey to Penn.

Jaaber also made sure to thank the person who perhaps embodies the Big 5 more than anyone else: former La Salle player, former Penn coach and current Temple coach Fran Dunphy.

"I don't think I could have had a better coach for me in my situation than my Coach Dunphy," said Jaaber, the 2006-07 Big 5 Player of the Year and the all-time Ivy League leader in steals (303). "I'm almost embarrassed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame before Coach Dunphy."

Archbishop Wood basketball star Collin Gillespie signs with Villanova

Archbishop Wood basketball star Collin Gillespie signs with Villanova

Archbishop Wood's Collin Gillespie, the Philadelphia Catholic League's MVP, has signed a national letter of intent to attend Villanova and play for Jay Wright.

Gillespie, during his senior year, averaged 24.1 points per game. The 6-foot-2 guard lead Archbishop Wood to their first Catholic League title in school history and followed that up with a PIAA State Championship game victory -- also a first for the school. Along with the league MVP, Gillespie was named Player of the Year by the Philadelphia Daily News.

"We are excited to have Collin and his family join the Nova Nation," Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. "Collin comes from a great program at Archbishop Wood and has been well prepared by John Mosco. His guard skills, basketball IQ and winning instincts will be a welcome addition to our program."

Gillespie will join previously announced signees Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia) and Jermaine Samuels (Rivers School, Weston, Mass.) in Villanova's class of 2021.