Drake wins first title since 2007-08 campaign
Story by Luke Nankivell
The Drake men’s basketball returned from Fresno, Calif., this weekend with three more wins under its belt after winning the Fresno State Classic.
Drake’s first challenge came a day after feasting on turkey and all the fixings against host Fresno State. The Bulldogs won 84-74.
Senior guard Gary Ricks Jr. led Drake with 25 points, along with five rebounds and five assists. Fellow senior guard Richard Carter added an additional 21 points for the Bulldogs.
Fresno State proved to be a tough opponent for Drake. The two teams were tied six times, and the lead changed seven times in the game.
Late in the second half, the Bulldogs were able to stretch their lead over Fresno State to 72-63, but Fresno’s late comeback attempt fell short, as it only came within five.
The next day, Drake cruised its way to victory over Northern Arizona, 76-56.
Junior forward Chris Caird led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Carter had another solid outing for Drake with 12 points, seven assists and four steals.
Drake jumped out to a 14-2 lead led by 3-pointers by Caird, Ricks and senior forward Aaron Hawley.
That lead grew to 15 by halftime. The Lumberjacks struggled during the second half, and were only able to pull within 12 of the Bulldogs, who shot 52.6 percent for the game.
Four players from Drake finished the game scoring in double digits. Hawley added 13 to the total, and Ricks put up 10.
The final test for the Bulldogs came against California State-Bakersfield Sunday afternoon.
Drake dominated the Roadrunners at the free-throw line, where the Bulldogs shot 14-of-17 and CSUB shot 6-of-9.
Carter led the Bulldogs yet again, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds and three steals. Ricks and junior guard Karl Madison also reached double-digit points.
The Bulldogs beat the Roadrunners on the boards in the first half to grab an eight-point lead going into halftime.
After extending the lead to 11, the Roadrunners were able to sneak within three.
Carter took control for Drake. He sunk a layup and three foul shots to solidify a third win in as many days.
With the three wins over the weekend, the Bulldogs improved their record to 6-1. The five wins Drake recorded in the month of November are a program-high.
Drake plays next on Saturday, when it participates in the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic against the University of Iowa. The game will be held at Wells Fargo Arena downtown.
The game will prove challenging for the Bulldogs, as the Hawkeyes are No. 23 in the latest Associated Press poll.