Drexel Basketball: Givens, Dragons Advance to NIT Quarterfinals

John SmithContributor IIIMarch 18, 2012

Maybe it is the Year of the Dragon.

Samme Givens scored 28 points and grabbed four rebounds to lead the Drexel Dragons (29-6) over the Northern Iowa Panthers (20-14) 65-63 in the second round of the NIT.

Chris Fouch scored 16, along with Frantz Massenat having 11 points.

Northern Iowa senior Johnny Moran came up clutch numerous times, scoring 19 points despite the loss. The win sets up a Drexel-Massachusetts matchup on Tuesday night in the NIT quarterfinals.

The opening half was dominated by Drexel, as the Dragons shot 60 percent from the floor and 60 percent from beyond the arc. Drexel's lone senior, Samme Givens scored 16 points to lead all scorers. Chris Fouch had 14 in the first half off the bench.

Northern Iowa struggled to find any offense in the beginning of the game, as the Panthers shot only 40 percent from the floor and 30 percent from the three-point line.

The Panthers started the second half on a 9-5 run in the first four minutes, as Johnny Moran knocked down a three and Anthony James had a basket off the bench.

Samme Givens continued what he started, with six quick points to give him 22 points at the 14:30 mark.

UNI's Marc Sonnen took a charge and knocked down a three to cut Drexel's lead to three with around 10 minutes to play. It went back and forth for the next few minutes, but Johnny Moran cut the deficit to 52-50 with eight minutes remaining.

Drexel was on the verge of blowing out the game, but Johnny Moran had a different idea. Moran knocked down a three pointer to cut the lead in half, as the Dragons led 58-55 with 2:40 to play.

The Panthers refused to go away, as a three with six seconds remaining cut the lead to one, but a miss at the buzzer sent the Dragons to the NIT quarterfinals.

The Dragons cooled off in the second half, shooting 52 percent from the field. The three-pointer was the key to the game, as Coach Flint's squad shot a whopping 58 percent from beyond the arc.

Drexel earns another home game, with Massachusetts coming to Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The game will tip off at 7:00pm and will air on ESPN.