NEW YORK – It was expected to be the undercard to Duke vs. Arizona, but the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off turned out to be a headlining game on its own.
Drexel and Alabama went to three overtimes before it was decided, with Drexel pulling out the 85-83 victory. Alabama had chances to tie, but freshman forward Jimmie Taylor missed two free throws and Trevor Releford's attempt with one second left didn't fall.
Playing without star swingman Damion Lee, who was injured in Wednesday's loss to Arizona, Drexel relied heavily on the perimeter trio of Chris Fouch, Frantz Massenat and Tavon Allen – who combined for 52 points. Kazembe Abif, who didn't play on Wednesday, came off the bench to get 15 points and 11 rebounds in 46 minutes.
Alabama comes out of New York City with two close losses, but the Crimson Tide got promising inside-outside play from point guard Releford and big man Nick Jacobs. Releford was outstanding in the second half and overtime, scoring 19 of his 21 points after halftime. Jacobs had another impressive outing, getting 23 points and eight rebounds after going for 18 points and seven boards against Duke on Wednesday.