On Thursday, the Drexel Dragons set a record for men’s Division I basketball for a comeback win, by overcoming a deficit in the first half of 34 points to beat rival Delaware 85-83.
With just over two and a half minutes remaining in the first half, Delaware was ahead 53-19 and at the half led 56-29.
Zach Spiker the head coach for Drexel said the team’s approach during halftime was to just make it happen. He told his player that they could pull off the craziest of comebacks. He added that he told his team that they had come out soft and turned over the ball and the opposite could happen during the second half.
Drexel started the second half with a run of 18-4, and added a runoff 17-4 after Delaware pushed its lead up to 16 at the midway point of the second half.
Guard Tremaine Isabell was instrumental in the team’s rally as he was the court leader and pushed his teammates on the court to play better and make stops each time on the defensive end.
Isabell finished the game with a team high 29 points, while pulling down 12 rebounds and handing out 9 assists. He scored or assisted on 38 of Drexel’s points during the second half. He scored 27 of his 29 points from the 2:30 mark of the first half onwards.
Isabell told reporters that he missed several easy shots during the first half, but told himself to remain calm. When the team cut the deficit in half to 17 points he forced play somewhat but then allowed the game to come to him and played aggressively but smart.
Drexel took a lead with less than two minutes remaining held it for less than a minute then regained it with 1:13 on the clock when Austin Williams tipped in a missed shot. However, Delaware played well the final minute and tied the score at 83-83 with 10 seconds remaining.
On the final possession for Drexel, Isabell was fouled when shooting a 3-pointer with just 2.2 seconds remaining and proceeded to hit two of his three free throw attempts that sealed the win.
Previous to Drexel’s comeback the largest deficit overcome was in 1950 when Duke rallied from 32 points down to beat Tulane 74-72. The Blue Devils had trailed during the first half 54-22. In 1994, Kentucky rallied from a deficit of 31 points to beat LSU and that, until Thursday was the second biggest comeback.