Story by Luke Nankivell
The Drake men’s basketball team started the season with a tally in the win column, edging out the University of Illinois at Chicago 61-59 on Saturday night.
Senior guard Richard Carter scored a career-high 38 points against the Flames. Carter averaged fewer than 10 points per game last season.
Carter led the nation over the opening weekend of Division I basketball with his 38 points. The runner-up had 35 points.
Carter shot 12-of-17 from the field, and hit two of four three-point shots. He was also 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Not including Carter, the Bulldogs shot 6-of-27, just 22 percent.
Senior guard Gary Ricks Jr. was the only other Bulldog to reach double-digit points, scoring 10, with six rebounds and a pair of assists.
After being down by as much as nine, Drake ended the first half down by only five. As a team, Drake shot 8-of-22, while only hitting one of eight three-point shots.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle between the Bulldogs and Flames, with one tie and five lead changes in the last 20 minutes. The Bulldogs first lead of the game didn’t come until five-and-a-half minutes into the second half.
For the next four minutes, the two teams exchanged the lead until Drake was able to get a bit of breathing room, extending its lead to nine.
The Bulldogs saw that lead slowly dwindle down to just one point with 1:16 left on the clock.
Junior guard Karl Madison hit one of two free throws with 21 seconds left, putting Drake up by a bucket.
The Flames missed a three-point shot to put them in the lead. With just six seconds remaining in the game, UIC’s senior guard Kelsey Barlow came up with the offensive rebound and called a timeout.
With enough time remaining for just one shot, the Flames missed a game-tying layup, and Drake’s freshman center Jacob Jensen pulled down the rebound as time expired.
Junior forward Chris Caird led the team in rebounds, grabbing seven. Including Caird, the bench players scored just 11 points, a step backward from the 30 points scored in the exhibition game against Central College.
The free throw line was kind to Drake, helping it make up for a low shooting percentage throughout the game. The Bulldogs sank 20-of-23 from the charity stripe.
Personal fouls were an issue for the Bulldogs, with six players committing at least three fouls each. While no one fouled out, sophomore forward Daddy Ugbede committed four fouls in only seven minutes of play.
Drake’s next game is Tuesday, Nov. 12, against Iowa Wesleyan at the Knapp Center.