Drexel hoops relying on Tavon Allen to resurrect season

Drexel hoops relying on Tavon Allen to resurrect season
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Life has not been easy for Drexel coach Bruiser Flint. After two straight injury-rattled seasons, Flint was finally hoping to field a healthy roster for the 2015-16 season and grow from an 11-19 season a year ago. The healthy roster is mostly there but it’s missing its best player, Damion Lee, who transferred to Louisville in the offseason.

The Dragons (1-6) got their first win of the season Saturday over La Salle (4-3) 66-53, but the winless start has definitely taken its toll on the blue and gold.

“[I told the team to] forget the scoreboard, forget the game plan and just go out and get [a win],” Flint said. “Throw everything out the window and get a win because you need one.”

The brutal start to the season hit a low point for the Dragons when they lost to D-II Alaska-Anchorage on Thanksgiving, 71-65. They stand dead last in the Colonial Athletic Association and are averaging just 68.1 points per game, which ranks 278thin the country.

“In the heat of the game, we had a couple minutes here and there, we didn’t crack,” Flint said. “In the other games, teams came back on us and that was it, it was over. Next thing you know we’re down by five or down by eight. Today they came back on us and we sort of fended them off. We needed to win a game before I killed somebody.”

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If Drexel is going to string together some wins this season, they’ll need to rely heavily on the play of Tavon Allen. Allen, who leads the Dragons in scoring with 15.1 points per game this season, scored 25 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the win over the Explorers.

“I was just taking good shots,” Allen said. “That’s all they have been telling me to do is just take good, open shots and I feel like I did that today. I was more aggressive going to the basket, which got me to the line a little bit. I was just trying to do what [Flint] says, taking good shots and not taking bad shots like I have been.”

Flint called Allen’s performance “the best game he ever had” for the Dragons. With South Carolina (8-0), Penn State (5-2) and Penn (4-4) on deck, Allen will need to put up similar performances to put the Dragons in a position to win.

The Dragons will face the Gamecocks on the road Tuesday before returning to the Palestra on Saturday to face the Nittany Lions. Both games have 7 p.m. starts.