When Delaware sophomore forward Jacob Cushing drilled a 3-pointer with 2:36 remaining in the first half, the scoreboard at Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center read the following: Blue Hens 53, Dragons 19.
Fast forward 22 minutes, 36 seconds of game play later and the same scoreboard illuminated Drexel 85, Delaware 83. 0:00.
The Dragons' 34-point comeback Thursday night broke a 67-year record for the largest deficit overcome in NCAA men's Division I basketball history. But in the city of Philadelphia, where many are still basking in the glory of the Eagles' Super Bowl LII victory earlier this month, defying the odds has just become the norm in 2018.
INSANITY— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 23, 2018
Drexel overcomes being down 34 points to defeat Delaware 85-83 the largest comeback in Division I MBB history! pic.twitter.com/to53hkzzB9
Drexel erased the massive deficit to draw the game's first tie at 79-79 with 3:50 remaining in regulation. Three lead changes and two ties later, the Dragons put the final touches on their unlikely comeback when Drexel junior guard Tramaine Isabell was fouled on a 3-point attempt with two seconds left. Isabell made two of three free throws and the rally was complete.
Let’s break down the Dragons’ historic comeback by the numbers:
24,527: Days between largest comebacks in Division I history (including Thursday night). Before Thursday, Duke’s 32-point comeback against Tulane on Dec. 30, 1950 stood as the largest deficit a team overcame for a win. In other words, it's been 67 years, one month and 23 days. After trailing 54-22 at one point in the first half, the Blue Devils came back to win 74-72.
1,116: People in attendance at Daskalakis Athletic Center to witness the historic comeback.
88: Seconds the Dragons led against the Blue Hens on Thursday. The game was first tied at 79-79 with 3:50 remaining in regulation with the two teams going back and forth following the under-four media timeout.
58: Drexel's shooting percentage during its comeback. After falling behind by 34 points, Drexel ended the game shooting 25-for-43, including 8-for-14 from 3-point range.
Just when you thought a 34-point lead was safe....— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 23, 2018
Drexel trailed Delaware 53-19 with 2:30 left in the first half. They won 85-83.
Largest comeback in D-I history. pic.twitter.com/LAEy5wDmvN
50: Combined points, rebounds and assists for Isabell. Isabell finished with game-highs in points (29) and assists (nine), and tied a game-high in rebounds with 12. Three other Dragons finished with double-digit points as Sammy Mojica added 16, Troy Harper 14 and Kurk Lee 12.
46: Points Isabell was responsible for during the final 22:36 of the comeback. He added seven of his nine assists during this stretch. For comparison, the entire Blue Hens team scored 30 points during this stretch, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Tramaine Isabell scored or assisted on more points than the entire Delaware team during Drexel's comeback run. pic.twitter.com/pgjQt1BI2u— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 23, 2018
36: Points Drexel outscored Delaware by during the comeback. The Dragons trailed by 34 with 2:36 remaining in the first half; they ended the game on a 66-30 run.
32: Previous record for largest comeback in men’s DI history, set by Duke in 1950. The Blue Devils' 31-point second half comeback in that same game matches Kentucky (1994 vs. LSU) for largest second half deficit overcome in DI history. Drexel trailed by as much as 29 in Thursday's second half.
Once down by 34 points (53-19), Drexel defeated Delaware tonight 85-83. It is the largest comeback in Division I MBB history, breaking a record that stood since 12-30-1950 (Duke beat Tulane after trailing by 32).— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) February 23, 2018
2: seconds remaining when Drexel took its third and final lead. Isabell was fouled on a 3-point attempt with two seconds left and hit 2-of-3 from the line to give the Dragons an 85-83 lead. Delaware's Eric Carter then missed on the desperation 3 as the buzzer sounded.