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Drexel basketball defeats James Madison to earn first CAA regular season title

February 23, 2012

Senior forward Samme Givens
Senior forward Samme Givens grabbed his 1,000th career rebound in his final home game as a Dragon, while leading his team to a win over James Madison and its first CAA regular-season championship.
Drexel's Samme Givens scored 18 points and grabbed his 1,000th career rebound on Senior Night as Drexel defeated James Madison, 78-61, for its 16th straight win. With George Mason's loss at Northeastern, the Dragons (24-5, 15-2 CAA) clinched the top seed in the upcoming CAA Tournament in Richmond and at least a share of their first CAA regular-season championship.

Givens became just the third Dragon in school history to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds. Malik Rose and Bob Stephens are the other two members of that elite club. He is just the 22nd player in Philadelphia Division I history to reach the milestone. Givens reached that milestone with an offensive board with just over eight minutes to play. He was fouled, made both free throws and then received a standing ovation by the capacity crowd at the Daskalakis Athletic Center when the announcement was made.

The Dragons opened the second half with an 11-1 run after trailing by a point at intermission and never trailed again. The defense held the Dukes without a field goal for the first 5:34 of the half. Givens had 12 of his 18 points in the second half as the Dragons shot 50 percent in the half after struggling (36 percent) in the first half. Drexel committed a school-record low three turnovers in the game. 

Drexel trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half as the Dukes (11-19, 4-13) were on fire from three-point territory. They made six of their first seven attempts from deep and when Andrey Semenov drained a three and was fouled, the Dukes led 23-11. Drexel answered with a 12-0 run capped off by a Givens' lay-in to put the Dragons up one with 8:16 left in the half. James Madison had a four-point lead in the final seconds of the half, but Drexel cut the lead to one at intermission when Chris Fouch nailed a three-pointer as time expired. The junior scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half and made three three-pointers.

Point guard Frantz Massenat continued his solid play with 13 points, five assists and no turnovers. Dartaye Ruffin came off the bench to score 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Semenov led JMU with 17 points and made five of his six long-range attempts. Gene Swindle added 15 points, while Devon Moore handed out a game-high eight assists. JMU finished 10-for-17 from behind the arc. The Dragons, who entered the game leading the CAA in rebounding margin, dominated the glass, outrebounding the Dukes, 40-28. Daryl McCoy led all players with nine rebounds.

Drexel's 16 consecutive wins are a school Division I record and tied the all-time school mark set the 1965-66 Dragons. Drexel now has 24 wins, the third highest total ever recorded at the school. The 1995-96 team, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, won 27 games, while the 1993-94 team had 25 wins. In addition, Drexel finished the year undefeated at home (13-0) and have now won 16 straight in the building. It is the third time since the Daskalakis Athletic Center opened in 1975 that a Drexel team has won all of its home games.

Drexel closes the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Old Dominion. The teams tip-off at 4 p.m. in a game that can be seen live on The Comcast Network.  

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