Tuesday night's showdown was supposed to be about Bruiser Flint facing his former team and his mentee, when the UMass Minutemen came to town for an NIT Quarterfinal showdown. Massachusetts native Dartaye Ruffin made sure all the attention was on him though after an inspired showing.
The Stoughton native poured in 17 points to lead all players, as Drexel leads UMass 41-31 heading into the break. Ruffin, a sophomore forward, connected on 8-of-9 field goal attempts and 1-of-2 free throws to finish a point shy of his season-high.
Sophomore point guard Chaz Williams led the Minutemen with 10 points, two rebounds and one assist. Backcourt mate Jesse Morgan added five points for a UMass side that trailed for the majority of the half because of struggles in the paint.
Senior forward Samme Givens added 10 points for the Dragons who held an 18-9 advantage on the boards, including nine offensive rebounds. Point guard Franz Massenat added six points and five assists for the Dragons who are 15-0 this season when playing at home.
While both teams shot the ball extremely well, Drexel (51.5 percent) and UMass (48.1 percent), the Dragons managed to force three more turnovers (eight to five) and used a 9-0 run to being the game to knock UMass off their game.
Neither team has hit a 3-point attempt thus far, with Drexel missing six attempts and UMass off target on two tries.