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

Instant Replay: Drexel 85, Cleveland State 82 (3OT)
December 4, 2013, 10:00 pm
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Drexel won its second straight triple-overtime game Wednesday night with an 85-82 victory over Cleveland State. (USA Today Images)

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.