Chris Fouch

Drexel’s first victory may have come at a cost as Chris Fouch injures his ankle

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The Drexel Dragons were the preseason pick to not only repeat as CAA regular season champions, but to also be a team that few teams would want to draw as their opposition in the NCAA tournament.

But the Dragons have gotten off to a slow start of sorts, losing their first two games of the season before holding off Penn on Saturday afternoon by the final score of 61-59.

The win may have come at a cost for Bruiser Flint’s squad however, as shooting guard Chris Fouch was lost early in the second half with an ankle injury.

No word yet as to how long Fouch could be out (he left The Palestra on crutches according to reports), but if there’s to be a silver lining in this cloud it would have to be the play of freshman forward Tavon Allen.

Allen, who saw his first action of the season on Saturday, scored all 15 of his points in the second half while also accounting for four steals and three rebounds.

With Fouch down and the Dragons also without the services of sophomore wing Damion Lee (concussion), someone needed to step up. That someone was Allen.

“I’ve been telling him that his opportunity is going to be there for him and he’s gotta take advantage of it,” Dragons coach Bruiser Flint said of Allen’s performance. “And he did tonight. He was a little nervous out there in the beginning, but in the second half he settled down.”

Drexel led 60-53 with 57 seconds remaining after a pair of Derrick Thomas free throws, only to have the Quakers score the next six points within 33 seconds to cut the margin to just a single point.

But Penn was unable to get a shot at either the tie or the win after a Frantz Massenat free throw, and they drop to 1-3 on the season as a result. Fran Dougherty led Penn with 21 points and ten rebounds.

The biggest question that comes out of the “Battle of 33rd Street” is what the Dragons will do if Fouch has to miss time. Conceivably Lee will be back from his concussion and that would help matters, but keep an eye on Allen these next few weeks.

If the redshirt freshman can build on Saturday’s performance, Drexel would have another piece at their disposal in the quest for a ticket to the NCAA tournament.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.