STORY BY MICHAEL WENDLANDT
The Evansville Purple Aces (19-8, 9-6) got their revenge for losing to the Bulldogs three weeks ago, defeating Drake (8-19, 5-10) 61-52 in Evansville.
D.J. Balentine, the top scorer in the Missouri Valley Conference, scored 24 points in the game, seven more than he did three weeks ago against Drake.
Each team traded buckets early on until Evansville pulled ahead with 15:43 left in the half. Drake kept the game within one possession for most of the half, but fell behind 30-23 as the teams entered the locker room.
Drake struggled from the field throughout the game, Drake shooting 36 percent compared to Evansville’s 60 percent.
Jordan Daniels, Trevor Berkeley and Jacob Enevold Jensen each had four points at the break, while freshman Ore Arogundade led with five.
The second half began much like the first as both teams started to trade baskets, neither one able to pull away. Drake came back and tied it up multiple times in the second half, but could never take the lead.
Evansville took control of the game with an 8-0 run halfway through the second half and would lead. Jensen and Berkeley attempted to mount a comeback, but the Bulldogs were unable to close the gap to less than six for the rest of the game.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Jensen, who poured in 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds, a strong showing from the sophomore.
“Jacob has struggled as of late and it was good to see him function against one of the better centers in the league,” head coach Ray Giacoletti said to Drake Athletics after the game.
Right behind him was Berkeley with, reaching double figures for the second consecutive game. Jordan Daniels was right behind with eight and Gary Ricks had seven.
Evansville sealed their victory from the free throw line, shooting 15-20 in the second half and 19-28 in the game. This was unacceptable to Giacoletti.
“You can’t win on the road like that, with them taking twenty free throws in the second half,” Giacoletti said.
Drake has three games remaining, two of which are at home. The next game is on Sunday as the Bulldogs will celebrate Senior Day against Missouri State. Tip-off for that game is at 1:05 p.m.