It has taken longer than he expected, but Tavon Allen is back providing instant offense for Drexel.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore, who is averaging 12.7 points, was enjoying a solid season until he suffered an ankle injury on Jan. 11 in a 93-88 double overtime win over Northeastern.

He missed two full games, came back and scored 19 points in a 90-77 loss to Delaware, and then played a total of 15 minutes the next two games because the ankle was bothering him.

He had his best game on Sunday since the injury, scoring a career-high 25 points in a 69-65 win at Delaware, which could have clinched at least a tie for the Colonial Athletic Association title with a win.

"The ankle is still not fully healed but it is better," Allen said. "Before when I came back, the ankle was tender and I couldn't really cut well, but now I am good and get a lot of treatment."

He also received advice from no-nonsense coach Bruiser Flint.

"The ankle lingered a little bit more and he played a little mental gymnastics with himself, so he had to sit down and say 'It's time to start getting to be 100 percent and feeling you are 100 percent,' " Flint said. "Sometimes it is mind over matter."

Delaware and Towson will be the favorites in the CAA Tournament March 7-10, but Allen says the win over the Blue Hens should keep Drexel in the conversation.

"They should never sleep on Drexel," he said. "We can play with anybody in the conference when we come to play on the same page as a team."

No time to relax

Unlike last year, when Villanova was 19-12 entering the Big East tournament, the Wildcats have been long assured a place in this year's NCAA tournament.

The only question for Villanova, 24-3 with four regular-season games remaining, is how high the Wildcats will be seeded. Yet there has been no complacency, and that's because coach Jay Wright won't allow the Wildcats to relax.

"Coach does a great job of humbling us and always says we have to get better," said junior Darrun Hilliard, who is averaging 13.7 points.

Wright said one thing that has helped the Wildcats is the number of close games, especially recently.

Villanova is 8-1 in its last nine games. Those include an overtime win over Marquette; a 65-60 victory at Georgetown; and in the last two games, an 82-79 double-overtime win at Providence and Saturday's 57-54 victory over St. John's at the Wells Fargo Center.

"It's great being in these close games and winning them is even better," Wright said. ". . . These close games have been good and you learn from each one of them."