Drake fails to carry momentum to Normal

February 3, 2014 6:15 AMComments Off

Story by Luke Nankivell

Photo by Joel Venzke

mbball_joel-w2000-h2000The Drake Bulldogs got their first win at home since Jan. 1 Wednesday against the Missouri State Bears, 84-74.

Senior guard Richard Carter recorded a double-double with 23 points and 11 assists. Sixteen of his points came from the free-throw line.

A total of eight Bulldogs scored points in the game.

“Our guys, maybe more than ever this season, trusted each other,” said head coach Ray Giacoletti said. “(Rebounds and assists) equate to winning.”

The Bulldogs also took control of the boards, out-rebounding the Bears 34-16, only giving Missouri State the chance to pull down two offensive boards.

Because of the winning effort on the boards, Drake had 17 second-chance points, as opposed to the Bears’ two.

To go along with Carter’s 23 points, sophomore guard Jordan Daniels scored 22, and junior forward Chris Caird scored 18. All of Caird’s points came from behind the three-point arch.

“We work really hard in practice every day,” Daniels said. “Everybody wants to get results.”

After the game, Giacoletti talked about the momentum the Bulldogs are able to carry throughout the rest of the season.

“We have a chance now, with the window closing in the month of February, to make the most of it,” Giacoletti said.

Saturday’s game against Illinois State had a very different tone to it, and the Bulldogs lost to the Redbirds 75-57.

Drake, who is ranked ninth in the country for three-point shot accuracy, struggled from behind the arch. The Bulldogs only hit one 3-pointer in the second half and went 5-21 for the game.

Drake only hit five second-half shots.

Junior forward Trevor Berkeley had a career-high 13 points in the loss and pulled down eight rebounds, six of which came on the offensive side.

“It’s the kind of effort that we need to get from him night in and night out,” Giacoletti said. “He got more aggressive and became a different guy.”

Drake out-rebounded the Redbirds 41-27, and pulled down 16 offensive boards as opposed to Illinois State’s one. The problem for Drake was converting those rebounds into more points, only getting six second-chance points.

Because of the struggles on offense, the Bulldogs played zone defense for the majority of the game

“We’ve played more zone this year than we ever have,” Giacoletti said. “It’s hard to get into a rhythm with that for 40 minutes.”

It wasn’t until nine and a half minutes into the second half that the Bulldogs hit a shot from the field, helping Illinois State cruise to a large lead.

With just under six and a half minutes left in the game, Illinois State increased it’s lead to 24 points, an amount too much for Drake to overcome.

“You’ve got to be able to do both,” Giacoletti said. “You’ve got to have a strong post presence and be able to hit the gaps.”

With the win and loss over the week, Drake moved to 12-10 on the year. The record of 3-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference dropped the Bulldogs to eighth in the conference.

The Bulldogs return to the Knapp Center Tuesday night when they host Southern Illinois at 7 p.m. Drake defeated SIU in their first meeting, 57-54.

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