Photo: Matt Moran
The Bulldogs went on the road and saw their three-game winning streak snapped, as they fell short against Indiana State 75-63.
Drake could not carry the momentum from its recent surge into the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Ind. Freshman Rayvonte Rice had a rough time breaking down the Sycamore defense and the entire Bulldog squad had a poor shooting performance from the field, but with two minutes left in the game, Drake still had a chance to make a run.
With the Sycamores leading 68-57, fifth-year senior Ryan Wedel connected on back-to-back 3-point field goal attempts to trim the deficit to five. The Bulldogs desperately needed a stop to have a chance.
However, the Sycamores went on to score the last seven points of the game. Indiana State point guard Jake Odum scored a layup late in the shot-clock to push the lead to seven and the Sycamore defense took care of the rest, as Drake saw its comeback attempt on the road fall short.
Drake is now 11-15 on the year and dropped its conference record to 6-9. The Bulldogs have lost their last four games against the Sycamores.
The Bulldogs only shot 37 percent from the field but managed to stay in the game because they continued to successfully attack the rim. Drake was 21-for-28 from the charity stripe, but Indiana State nullified that by going 19-for-26 from the line.
“We just didn’t have the same offensive rhythm as we had the past couple of games and that was the story,” head coach Mark Phelps said.
The first half saw both teams endure scoring droughts. Neither team led by more than four points, before a buzzer-beating 3-point field goal at the end of the half gave the Sycamores a five-point lead heading into the break.
Drake went on a 6-0 run early in the second half to cut the deficit to 41-40. However, Indiana State responded with consecutive 3-point plays and Drake was never any closer than five points for the rest of the game.
Rice, who has been the catalyst of the Bulldog offense this season, struggled to get going all game. Rice went 2-of-10 from the field and finished with nine points, three rebounds and three assists.
“They really keyed on [Rice],” Phelps said. “And when he got into the paint, it was a lot more difficult for him than it has been, but you have to give Indiana State credit for that.”
Sophomore Seth VanDeest was pivotal in the paint for Drake. VanDeest finished with 17 points and five rebounds.
Wedel chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds and sophomore Ben Simons added 10 points. Simons has reached double figures in six consecutive games.
Up next on the schedule for the Bulldogs is a visit to Missouri State on Tuesday. After that, Drake will host Detroit in ESPN’s annual BracketBuster series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.