Caird Scores a Career-High 21 Points, But Drake Falls to No. 23 Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa – Spurred by a late run in the first half, the No. 23/24 Iowa Hawkeyes charged past the Drake University men’s basketball team, 83-66, Saturday night in the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena.
After closing the first half on a 10-0 scoring run, the Hawkeyes (9-1) seized control of the game early in the second half, taking a 16-point lead with just over 15 minutes remaining. Drake (6-2) momentarily pulled within nine-points at the 12 minute mark, but could not get any closer as its shooting cooled in the second half.
“They have four different guys that can push it in transition,” Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti said of Iowa. “Their transition offense is as good as I’ve seen in a long time.”
Although he set a career-high with 21 points, junior Chris Caird’s (Daventry, England) efforts were not enough to spark the Bulldogs past Iowa. Senior Richard Carter (Detroit, Mich.) was the other Bulldog to score in double-figures, tallying 18 points along with four assists. Seniors Gary Ricks, Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Aaron Hawley (Rogers, Ark.) added nine and seven points, respectively.
The Hawkeyes dominated the boards, using their size advantage to lead the category, 47-28, and they scored 29 second-chance points compared to just five for Drake. Iowa finished with 42 points in the paint, while Drake was limited to just 12.
“It all came down to rebounding,” Carter said. “We had good first shot defense, but we couldn’t get rebounds and second-chance points really hurt us tonight”.
Iowa had four of its players finish in double-figures as Melsahn Basabe led the attack with 15 points. Roy Devyn Marble and Peter Jok each added 14 points, while Jarrod Uthoff nearly recorded a double-double with 13 points and nine boards. Basabe and Jok grabbed eight and seven rebounds, respectively.
Iowa was the first team to find an advantage in the first half, closing the half on a 10-0 run and holding Drake without a field goal for the final 3:17, to lead 49-40 at the break. The Bulldogs shot particularly well from the perimeter, sinking 14-of-29, and held the scoring advantage for the majority of the half before the Hawkeyes went on their run. Caird led all scorers at the break with 14 points behind four three-pointers. He finished with a career-best five three-pointers.
For most of the first half, the teams remained neck-and-neck, with the 11 score ties and seven lead changes. The big difference in the half was on the glass as Iowa outrebounded Drake, 23-13, and scored 19 second-chance points.
Both teams shot well in the first half as Drake sank eight three-pointers, which set a season-high for a single half. Overall, Drake was 48.3 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from the perimeter. Iowa was 50.0 percent from the field, but just 12.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Iowa started to distance itself and take control of the game at the beginning of the second half. Taking a double-digit lead at the first official timeout and then extended its lead to 16 points with 15:02 on the clock, putting the pressure on Drake.
Carter engineered a 7-0 run to lead Drake back into the game, scoring five quick points for the Bulldogs, to pull within nine, 62-53, at the under-12 media timeout in the second half. Drake would not get any closer as the Hawkeyes regrouped and charged back to take a double-digit lead, forcing Drake to call a timeout with 7:29 left in the game facing a deficit of 76-56.
“One game isn’t going to make or break anything,” Giacoletti said. “We are trying to build a program here, teach fundamentals, and it’s going to take time. We are going to do the best we can this year, and take it one day at a time and get better.”
Drake takes a week off for finals before returning to action next Saturday, Dec. 14. as the Bulldogs host New Mexico State. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Knapp Center.