Cal Rallies to Defeat Drake, 73-70, in DIRECTV Classic
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Drake University men’s basketball team fell in final minute to California, 73-70, in the opening round of the DIRECTV Classic Thursday evening in Anaheim, Calif.
Senior Jordan Clarke (Rockville, Md.) notched his second straight double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while Ben Simons (Cadillac, Mich.), Seth VanDeest(Bettendorf, Iowa), Richard Carter (Detroit, Mich.), and Gary Ricks, Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif.) each scored 13 points, but their scoring could not hold off the Golden Bears’ late charge. Justin Cobbs recorded 21 points followed by 15 from Allen Crabbe, almost all of which came down the stretch, to lead Cal past Drake in the closing minutes of the game.
“It was obviously a hard-fought game and when it counted the most, they made the plays that counted,” Drake head coach Mark Phelps said. “If you look at the free throws, that ended up being the difference. We both had 26 attempts and they made 20 of them while we made five.”
Drake (1-2) led by as many as nine points with seven minutes to play at 64-55, but Cal (4-0) rallied and retook the lead at 67-66 with 4:20 remaining in the game thanks to a 12-2 run, fueled by the high-scoring guard combo of Crabbe and Cobbs.
“Certainly it’s a painful loss,” Phelps said. “We went into a scoring drought then and I thought that most of the game we did a good job with our transition defense, but during that stretch, Crabbe got into the open floor.”
In the second half, the Blue and White was able to take its first lead since the opening minutes following back-to-back technical fouls called on Richard Solomon and Cal head coach Mike Montgomery at 15:34 in the second half with Drake trailing, 44-43, that helped start a 13-6 run Bulldog run to build a three-possession lead with Simons scoring seven of those points before Cal rebounded from the charge.
Drake faced similar adversity in the first half when Cal jumped out to a 23-13 and the Bulldogs responded with an 11-1 run in the middle of the period to keep the game in control, knotting the score at 24 apiece with 4:11 remaining in the first. Each team kept pace with each other, resulting in a 33-33 tie at halftime. Ricks, playing in his hometown, helped keep the Bulldogs on the Bears’ heels with 12 of his 13 points coming in the opening half.
Drake returns to Friday in Anaheim, facing Rice in the second round of the DIRECTV Classic. Rice dropped its opening game to Georgia Tech, 54-36. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CST on ESPNU.