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Bulldogs look to earn fourth-place finish at Paradise Jam

The Bulldogs continued their early-season success this weekend at the Paradise Jam after they went 1-1 to improve their season record to 3-1.

The tournament is being held at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Drake took on Mississippi on Friday in the opening round of the tournament and led for most of the game before faltering down the stretch, 63-59. Still, the Bulldogs were able to hang with an SEC opponent, which are encouraging signs for a team that went 13-18 last season.

Junior Ben Simons led the way with 22 points and sophomore Rayvonte Rice contributed with 18 points. Despite being smaller on both ends of the floor, the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Rebels 40-38 and forced 20 turnovers. Defense and rebounding were two main concerns coming into the season for the Bulldogs.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs evened their tournament record at 1-1 after they took down Winthrop 66-62. Once again, it was Rice and Simons leading the way. Rice led the team with 23 points and Simons poured in 19 points, including a career-high five three-point field goals.

Drake will conclude their action at the Paradise Jam today (Monday), when they take on Virginia in the fourth/sixth-place match. Beating an ACC opponent would surely give the Bulldogs a lot of confidence heading into the rest of their non-conference schedule.

Following the tournament, Drake will return to action after Thanksgiving. They will take on Cal-State Northridge on Saturday at the Knapp Center at 7:05 p.m.

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