Drake went 10 minutes and 35 seconds without a field goal and Iowa State junior Scott Christopherson had a monster game, as the Bulldogs suffered a crushing 91-43 defeat.
With the score tied at 8-8 early on, Drake missed its next 14 shots, giving Iowa State a huge lead after a 23-3 run. Turnovers and forced shots never allowed the Bulldogs to get back in the game, and the lead just kept piling on.
“We ran into a team that was on a roll, stayed on a roll and we helped the roll by taking tough shots,” Head Coach Mark Phelps said.
As the Cyclones moved the ball crisply around the perimeter and worked around the Bulldog defense, Drake could not get anything going from outside and struggled to find any kind of rhythm. Drake finished the game with 20 turnovers and only 13 field goals, a telling statistic of the kind of nightmare the Bulldogs endured in Ames last Wednesday night.
“I thought we really settled for outside shots,” Phelps said. “We know we have to have a paint presence, whether it be low-post or getting the ball off-the-dribble in the paint. We didn’t do that.”
Running into a perfect 11-for-11 performance from Christopherson certainly did not help the Bulldog cause. Christopherson ended the game with 29 points.
“When that happens, guys have to step up and make plays, and we weren’t able to do that,” sophomore Seth VanDeest said.
Junior transfer Kurt Alexander and freshman Rayvonte Rice led Drake with eight points each.
“Iowa State dominated in every aspect of the game,” VanDeest said. “It was disappointing, but we need to keep working hard.”
Fifth-year senior Ryan Wedel had a tough game with five points and three steals, and redshirt sophomore Jordan Clarke led the team with eight rebounds and added five points.
“It was the first time on the road, first experience,” Wedel said. “We’ll kind of use it as a learning experience. Offensively, it’s more playing with each other, getting used to each other and what we do.”
The loss marked the first setback of the season for the Bulldogs and evened their record at 1-1.
“It’s only one game, we are still 1-1, we just got to stay positive and keep working hard,” Wedel said.
Up next for Drake is the 2010 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. The event will be hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage this Wednesday through Saturday and will feature eight teams.
“We want to go out and play hard, and execute offensively and play a lot better defensively,” Wedel said. “We want to improve every game. Obviously our goal is to win.”
The field will include some top-quality opponents. Arizona State, St. John’s and Weber State should provide some worthy competition for the young Bulldogs. Arizona State barely missed the NCAA tournament last season, and Weber State made it to the first round of the National Invitational Tournament after winning the Big Sky Conference.
“We’ll face some good competition,” VanDeest said. “It will give us a chance to go outside the Des Moines area and show what we got.”
On Wednesday, Drake will take on Southern Utah and then face St. John’s or Ball State on Friday.
This is not the first time that the Bulldogs have been to Alaska. In 2006, the team participated in the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. Drake posted a 1-2 record in that occasion.
Photo: Carter Oswood