STORY BY MIKE WENDLANDT
The Drake men’s basketball season tipped off Saturday with a 78-53 exhibition victory over Coe College.
Returning five seniors to the floor, the Bulldogs overcame a slow start to outscore the Kohawks 46-20 in the second half.
In the lone exhibition game of the season, the Bulldogs featured six freshmen, two of which started.
Reed Timmer and Ore Arogundade were in the lineup for the first time, and each had moments that showed why they were in the first five.
“Reed and Ore each played really well in the starting five, doing the little things and scoring when called upon,” said Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti.
Timmer, in particular, got off to a solid start in the first game of his college career, scoring 12 points and picking up a team-leading six rebounds from his guard position.
“I try to affect the game in more ways than just points,” Timmer said. “Some days it’ll be rebounding, or assists or defense. I just try to let the game come to me and do what it takes.”
Arogundade was tasked with the tougher defensive assignments on the night, against Kohawks like Max Schmarzo, who led Coe in scoring with 11 points.
After a sluggish start by both teams, Schmarzo scored all of his points on four consecutive possessions late in the first half to give Coe the lead at halftime, 33-32.
Drake buckled down in the second half and let the offense take over, powered by guard Gary Ricks Jr. The senior hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Drake a lead it wouldn’t relinquish again.
Ricks contributed 24 points on seven-of-nine shooting in his first game back in nearly a year.
“It was definitely exciting, and a little nervous,” Ricks said. “I was excited to go out there with my brothers against another team for once.”
Several Bulldogs made a case for time in the Drake rotation with the season opener less than a week away.
Sophomore center Jacob Enevold Jensen scored seven points and pulled down six rebounds, while not missing a shot from the field.
Fifth-year senior guard Karl Madison, led the team with four assists.
“(Karl) is a real unsung hero today. He was our best defender, and a great facilitator for the offense,” Giacoletti said.
Efficiency was the key for the Bulldogs, as they shot 73 percent from the field in the second half, including a combined six-of-seven shooting from forwards Trevor Berkeley and Blake Danielak.
Danielak missed a large portion of last season due to an illness.
“Blake is a kid who’s worked his butt off to get healthy, and I was very happy with his performance today,” Giacoletti said.
Drake opens its regular season on Saturday in the Knapp Center against Bowling Green. Tip is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.