Photo: Joel Venzke
Led by senior Ben Simons and junior Richard Carter, the Drake men’s basketball team (1-0) throttled Division II William Jewell in their season opener 96-66 in front of 3,273 fans at the Knapp Center on Saturday.
Simons finished the game with 25 points on 9-of-13 from the field and Carter went off with 19 points and four assists in his first official game as a Bulldog. Carter made all four of his three-point attempts.
Head coach Mark Phelps commented on Carter’s performance.
“He can do that, he hasn’t shown that so far, but he can knock down threes,” Phelps said in a Drake athletics press release. “He’s a scoring point guard and he’s shown some of that. We want him to play in attack mode all the time. When he plays aggressively he plays better, and he needs to be consistent at being aggressive.”
Drake put on an all-around impressive offensive performance, shooting 55.9 percent from the field, including 15-of-24 from three-point range. The Bulldogs also recorded 19 assists.
William Jewell hit four of its first five shots and led 8-4 early on. After that, Drake took over the game. The Bulldogs led 40-32 at the half and shot 57.1 percent from the field.
The Bulldogs pushed the tempo all game, scoring 14 points in transition and 18 points off turnovers. Drake broke it open in the second half, outscoring William Jewell 56-34.
Drake’s bench gave the Bulldogs a boost with 38 points. Freshman Joey King chipped in 12 points and freshman Micah Mason went 3-of-3 from three-point range to finish with nine points.
Redshirt senior Jordan Clarke contributed seven points and seven rebounds. Redshirt junior Seth VanDeest finished with seven points and four rebounds.
Despite winning by 30 points, Drake committed more turnovers (17) than William Jewell (14) and was outrebounded 36-34. But those statistics didn’t matter much in a game that Drake rolled offensively and dominated from three-point range.
“We’re happy to get our first win and certainly have a lot of work to do,” Phelps said. “The competition gets a lot tougher next week with Detroit. We’re going to have to get better, but that’s what is supposed to happen to get better each week.”
Drake has a challenging schedule away from home coming up next.
The Bulldogs will hit the road to take on Detroit on Saturday at 6 p.m. Following that game, Drake will participate in the Anaheim Classic during Thanksgiving break. The tournament will feature California, Georgia Tech and Rice.
Drake will not return to the Knapp Center until Dec. 5, when it will take on Nevada in the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge.