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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Drake men’s basketball now  23-6, second in MVC standings

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The Drake men’s basketball team is now 23-6 overall with a 14-4 conference record. After their Feb. 6 loss to UNI, the Bulldogs fell to second place in the MVC standings, just one game behind Indiana State. Photo by Sarah Fey | Staff Photographer

As the Bulldogs closed in the final stretch of their regular season, the stakes could not have been higher against the Belmont Bruins at home on Feb. 21. If the Bulldogs could secure a win, they’d secure their 20th consecutive home win and preserve their tie with the Indiana State Sycamores for first overall in the Missouri Valley Conference.  

In the Bulldogs’ last encounter with the Bruins in Nashville on Jan. 7, the team did not perform at its best. In that game, the Bruins defeated the Bulldogs 87-65.  

“We didn’t think we were at our best down there in Nashville. This definitely was a game that we knew we were going to have a lot of energy to circle back to try and get a revenge win,” guard Conor Enright said. “At this point in the season, we’re just taking it one game at a time.” 

On top of the opportunity for the Bulldogs to secure revenge against the Bruins, there were also a number of NBA scouts present in the crowd. Scouts from the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers were all in attendance, making it an even more important game for NBA hopefuls like Bulldogs star Tucker DeVries.  

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In the first half of the game, the Bulldogs wasted little time getting down the court and finding the basket. Even with pressure from the Bruins’ defense, Drake still managed to keep a relatively clean first half with a 46-36 lead. With a 10-point deficit and 20 minutes on the clock, the Bruins still had time to try and mount a comeback.   

With strong gameplay comes strong crowd involvement, and fans packed the Knapp Center with energy.  

“I love the way the guys are playing,” head coach Darian DeVries said in the post-game conference. “I loved our crowd again tonight. Terrific energy in the building. It continues to be just an awesome home court advantage for us. I certainly appreciate everybody that continues to come out and give us such great support.” 

During the second half, pressure was on both teams to not only have a big presence on the court but to also avoid mistakes that could cost either team the game. The Bruins put up a solid 33 points in the second, attempting to keep up with Drake’s 38 points, but it was not enough for Belmont to come back and win the game. The final score was 84-69 Drake, marking Drake’s 20th consecutive home game victory. 

DeVries was a hot topic of the night with 21 points, followed by Atin Wright’s 18 points and Kevin Overton’s 16 points for the game. Enright was also a key player in the Bulldogs lineup, putting up seven assists, just one shy of his career high of eight.  

“I thought we did some good stuff tonight,” Darian said. “We got all three phases going a little bit and got some interior post-ups with [Darnell] Brodie. Some good dribble penetration got some inside out threes that I thought were really good.” 

The Bulldogs traveled for their next game to UNI on Saturday, Feb. 24, for a 5 p.m. tip-off.  The team was in search of a strong road win but ultimately fell short 91-77 to the Panthers. As a result, the team fell to second place in the MVC standings. The Bulldogs will take on UIC next at UIC on Wednesday, Feb.28, with a 7 p.m. start. 

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