DES MOINES, Iowa – Perennial NCAA participant Saint Mary’s had five players score in double-figures to defeat the Drake University men’s basketball team, 88-73, Wednesday evening at the Knapp Center in a game that was part of the DirecTV Classic.
The Bulldogs (3-4) never were able to find an offensive rhythm and were limited to 41.2 percent shooting from the field. The team’s three-point offense came into the contest averaging 10 three-pointers per game and was limited to six three-pointers, many of them coming with the game out of reach.
Jeremy Jeffers (Wilson, N.C.) tallied a career-high 16 points to lead the Bulldogs in the loss. Seth VanDeest (Bettendorf, Iowa) recorded 15 points before fouling out with just under five minutes to play and Ben Simons (Cadillac, Mich.) added 11 points.
Australian Olympian Matthew Dellavedova was a matchup problem all night for the Bulldogs, finishing with a game-high 31 points to pace the Gaels (6-2). Brad Waldow was a force inside, nearly recording a double-double against a defense that was hindered by the absence of Jordan Clarke (Rockville, Md.), who saw limited minutes due to illness. Waldow hauled in 8 rebounds and recorded 12 points. James Walker III and Beau Levesque each added 14 points each for Saint Mary’s.
Hot shooting powered the Gaels in the first half as they converted at a 56.7 percent clip from the field, to take a 47-33 lead over Drake at halftime. Dellavedova caught fire early, taking 20 points into the half on 7-of-9 shooting.
Saint Mary’s out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 38-20, taking advantage of the absence of Clarke, Drake’s top rebounder. SMC also scored 32 points in the paint, compared to Drake’s 24.
The Bulldogs return to the Knapp Center on Saturday, hosting IPFW at 7:05 p.m.