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Drake’s late comeback falls short at Detroit


Photo: Joel Venzke

The men’s basketball squad rallied back from a 14-point deficit on Saturday but saw its comeback attempt come up short as it fell to Detroit (2-1) 85-79 on the road.

Drake (1-1) was led by redshirt senior Jordan Clarke, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting.

Down 76-62 with four minutes left to play, the Bulldogs went on a 17-5 run that included a pair of 3-pointers from Clarke and senior Ben Simons to pull within two points with 46 seconds remaining.

With the shot clock winding down, Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Ray McCallum knocked down a jumper from the top of the key with 13 seconds left to clinch the victory for Detroit. McCallum finished with 20 points, five assists and three rebounds.

“I thought we had a great three minutes of basketball there at the end, the unfortunate thing was we didn’t play very well throughout the game,” said head coach Mark Phelps in a Drake athletics press release. “At the end of the day we had too many turnovers and didn’t make our free throws. Our guys really battled the last three minutes, and we were a (Ray) McCallum shot away from getting the ball back with a chance to tie or win it. We’re going to learn from this and move forward and be a better team.”

Simons finished the game with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting and three rebounds. Fifth-year senior Chris Hines made his season debut after having missed Drake’s season opener. Hines finished with 14 points and four rebounds.

Throughout the game, scoring was not the problem for Drake. The Bulldogs shot 49.1 percent from the field and shot a solid 7-of-18 from behind the arc. However, Drake turned the ball over 18 times and only went 18-of-30 from the charity stripe.

In addition to that, Drake struggled to slow down an athletic Detroit team that was picked to finish second in the Horizon this season.

The Titans shot 45.9 percent from the field and did a better job of making their free throws, going 23-of-31. Detroit outrebounded Drake 37-34.

Drake went into the break trailing 42-35. After Detroit took a 55-46 lead with 14:37 remaining, the Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run highlighted by a Simons 3-pointer to tie it up. Detroit responded with a 13-0 run that included a pair of dunks to emphatically reclaim the lead.

It wasn’t until Drake’s late 17-5 run that the Bulldogs came close to stealing a game on the road against a tough opponent.

Drake got great production from its bench, outscoring the Titans 25-6 in that department. Leading that effort was Hines and freshman Joey King, who contributed eight points.

Redshirt junior Seth VanDeest chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds, while junior Richard Carter added 10 points and four assists but turned the ball over five times.

Detroit also got excellent production out of forwards Doug Anderson and Nick Minnerath. Anderson finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting, including a perfect 3-of-3 from long distance. Minnerath added 16 points and nine rebounds.

The Bulldogs will continue their challenging non-conference schedule on Thursday when they take on California in the opening game of the DIRECTV Classic in Anaheim, Calif. Tipoff on ESPN2 is scheduled for 10:30 p.m.

The outcome of that game will determine whether Drake takes on Georgia Tech or Rice in its next game.

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