Drexel is headed north tomorrow morning for an ESPN televised breakfast time match-up with Niagara. This is the second year in a row that Drexel is playing an AM game as part of ESPN's College Basketball Marathon (last season, Drexel beat Penn 66-64 in a sloppy 10am matchup).
Niagara (0-1), who opened their season on Friday night with a loss to Auburn, have a whole lot of Philadelphia connections which will make this game pretty interesting for local basketball fans.
The local player that most will remember is Cardinal Dougherty product and Villanova transfer Bilal Benn. Benn transferred from 'Nova after the 06'-'07 season (most likely due to lack of playing time) and went on to be named 1st Team All-MAAC in his junior season last year. In that season, Benn was the only player in the nation with at least 13 ppg, 9 rpg, 3 apg and 2 spg.
Other local players for Niagara are senior Tyrone Lewis (Truman HS in Levittown), sophomore Kashief Edwards (Imhotep Charter in North Philadelphia) and freshman Scooter Gillette (Neumann-Goretti).
Drexel is coming off a tough opening loss against St. Joe's where they couldn't make a basket in the first half, but still led for most of the second half until St. Joe's capped off a late run with a 3pt basket by Iris Hilliard to send the game into overtime. St. Joe's dominated the OT period to win the game 77-67.
Jamie Harris dropped 20 pts and unexpected starter (at least unexpected to me) Derrick Thomas had 14 pts (four 3s).
Prediction: Home-court advantage will prove to be even more critical in an 8am game and Niagara's experience will prove to be too much for Drexel. Niagara wins 71-65.