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Shorthanded Bulldogs lose 84-74 in exhibition match

Photo: Laura Mergen

A depleted Drake men’s basketball team suffered an 84-74 exhibition loss to Quincy last Saturday at the Knapp Center.

The Bulldogs had only eight available players in the game, with three true freshmen and two redshirt freshmen.

Junior Ben Simons shot 12-of-19 from the field, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, to lead Drake with 34 points. Junior Aaron Hawley added 17 points.

“Ben (Simons) played all five positions today,” head coach Mark Phelps said. “I’ve never been part of a basketball program where a guy played all five positions like that…he stepped up and showed what he’s capable of.”

Sophomore Rayvonte Rice and senior Kurt Alexander served the first of their two-game suspensions. Juniors Seth VanDeest and Reece Uhlenhopp are injured and still will not be able to play for about seven or eight weeks. Redshirt senior Kraidon Woods, redshirt junior Jordan Clarke and redshirt sophomore David Smith were also unavailable because of injuries.

Phelps said Smith and Clarke will be able to play this Saturday in the season opener against Upper Iowa. Woods is also expected to be back in the lineup. Phelps also said that holding out Clarke was a last-minute decision made by the coaching staff.

True freshman Judd Welfringer started in his first career game at Drake, and he finished with 12 points. Redshirt freshman Karl Madison started at point guard, but struggled in his first career game. He fouled out with 5:53 left in the game and finished with five points, one assist and four turnovers.

“The stats are not going to jump out at you, but the experience for a guy who is as dedicated and committed as he is, it’s going to be good.” Phelps said about Madison’s performance. “He is going to be a good player for us, and we’re excited for what he will bring.”

Simons logged all 40 minutes in the game and flashed plenty of offensive talent. He added six rebounds. Redshirt junior Cory Parker led the Bulldogs with eight rebounds.

The Division-II Quincy squad took advantage of Drake’s small roster and shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half. The Hawks out-rebounded the Bulldogs 42-28 and added 19 offensive boards. Quincy had 25 second-chance points compared to just seven for Drake.

The Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the floor. Quincy finished shooting 46.3 percent, but made 10 treys.

“The defense was a lot better in the second half, which was good,” Phelps said. “We have a lot of work to do on the defensive end.”

Redshirt freshman Jeremy Jeffers was the sixth Bulldog to log double-digit minutes. He finished with two points and two rebounds.

Drake officially opens the season against Upper Iowa at 7:05 p.m. this Saturday at the Knapp Center. Rice and Alexander will return for next Tuesday’s tilt against Iowa State. Tip-off for that game is at 8 p.m. at the Knapp Center.


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