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The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Drake men’s basketball season highlights

2019+Missouri+Valley+Conference+Mens+Basketball+Championship+Tournament
2019 Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament

By DRAKE LOHSE

Long before any high-flying dunk or transition three, the Drake 2018-2019 team was merely a whisper. Passing buzz.

Following a 17-17 season in 2017, the Bulldogs lost first-year head coach Niko Medved to Colorado State. Drake wasted no time in bringing in Creighton assistant Darian DeVries, along with a slew of new faces in the coaching staff. Assistants Larry Blount, Marty Richter and Matt Woodley all joined DeVries on the bench for the new season.

But it wasn’t just coaches. Drake’s 2018-2019 roster would feature only one returning starter, in senior Nick McGlynn. Brady Ellingson, the sharp-shooter from Iowa. Nick Norton, the stocky point guard from UAB. And the Murphy Twins, two juniors and joined fellow Indiana native D.J. Wilkins at Drake.

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The fresh faced team made waves early. The Bulldogs dominated Coe College in exhibition play, 99-58. They opened the regular season in similar fashion. Drake downed Buena Vista in front of a home crowd, where a packed Knapp Center got a first glance at the new-look, high flying offense.

The dream season found itself on shaky ground less than a week later. Drake left Colorado on the wrong side of a 100-71 loss to Medved’s Buffalo.

In a season-long trademark, the Bulldogs responded to the Colorado loss with five straight wins. Drake lost consecutive games only once in the season, after losing Nick Norton to a season-ending ACL tear against Evansville. The Bulldogs dropped a home loss to Loyola of Chicago a few days later, before a win against Southern Illinois at home the same week. Drake’s longest losing streak of the season came to and end at two games.

Norton made history against North Dakota State earlier in the season, recording the second triple double in program history. The senior notched 18 points, 17 assists and 13 rebounds in the win.

Following the win against Southern Illinois, the Bulldogs lost a nail biter to U.N.I, before embarking on a four game win streak. That streak was snapped at home by the perilous Redbirds of Illinois State, who plagued the Bulldogs all season. Illinois State would break another four-game Drake winning run late in February. The Bulldogs responded by closing out the final two games, with wins against Indiana State and Missouri State.

Drake finished the season with a 24-10 record. The Bulldogs fed off the home crowd energy all year, posting a 13-2 record in Des Moines. They finished 7-6 on the road. Their 12-6 conference record was enough to earn them a share of the MVC Title.

The Bulldogs were bounced from the second round of the MVC Tournament, in another tight loss to U.N.I. They accepted an invitation to play in the CIT in Utah. The Bulldogs fell in the first round, in an overtime loss to the Southern Utah Thunderbirds.

Awards:

•   Nick McGlynn—MVC Defensive Player of the Year, MVC Scholar-Athlete of The Year and All-MVC First Team, MVC All-Defensive Team and MVC Most-Improved Team.

•   Brady Ellingson—All-MVC Second Team, All-MVC Newcomers Team.

•   D.J. Wilkins—All-MVC Freshman Team.

•   Anthony Murphy—All-MVC Bench Team.

•   Darian DeVries—MVC Coach of The Year.

Historical Notes:

•   The Bulldogs MVC Tournament first-round win against Illinois State is a first since 2013.

•   The Bulldogs 24-10 Record is the third-highest in program history.

•   Drake’s MVC Championship is their first since 2008.

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