The Bulldogs (3-4) will try to rebound from Wednesday’s loss to a seasoned Saint Mary’s squad against an IPFW team that is 5-5 on the season following a 63-52 loss at Valparaiso on Wednesday.
“We have to continue to get better and we’ve made some steps in the right direction,” head coach Mark Phelps said. “But we have to get better and we’ve got a bunch of really good guys that are determined to improve and we’ve had two days to get ready for IPFW.”
Saturday’s game features a pair of teams on opposite ends of the scoring spectrum with Drake averaging 77.3 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting. The Bulldogs are also one of the top three-point shooting teams in the nation, making an average of 9.4 three-pointers per game on 44.4 percent shooting. The Mastodons average 61.9 points per game in non-overtime contests on 40.4 percent shooting.
Additionally, IPFW has outrebounded foes by nearly eight rebounds a game in an area the Bulldogs have endured struggles with this season.
“We’ve got to do better on the boards,” Phelps said. “That’s the biggest thing we need to see – a better rebounding outcome.”
The Mastodons are led by fifth-year guard Frank Gaines’ 19.2 points per game as the fifth year guard has taken 22 percent of the team’s shots this season. He is the only scorer in double figures as part of the Mastodons’ small rotation that has only seen 10 players hit the court this season.
Senior Ben Simons (Cadillac, Mich.) continues to lead Drake with 15.6 points per game while Jeremy Jeffers (Wilson, N.C.) stepped off the bench against Saint Mary’s to score a career-high 16 points. The guard is averaging 13.5 points per game as a spark off the bench in the last two games.
Following Saturday’s game, the squad will have a week off to prepare for Iowa State next Saturday as part of the Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena. Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 4 p.m.