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Men's Basketball Begins Three-Game Homestand Saturday

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: December 13, 2013
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The Drake University men’s basketball returns to the Knapp Center on Saturday evening to begin a three-game homestand when it hosts New Mexico State at 7:05 p.m. in the Knapp Center. The contest will be televised regionally on Mediacom MC22 and carried on radio as always on 1350-AM KRNT.

Saturday's game is also 'Take a Kid to the Game Day,' sponsored by Mercy Children’s Hospital & Clinics. All kids in 6th grade or younger can get in free to the game with a paid adult ticket.

The Bulldogs play on their home court for the first time in 21 and return with a 6-2 following last weekend’s loss to No. 23 Iowa in the Big Four Classic. Meanwhile, the Aggies are playing their third of four straight games on the road after suffering a 74-48 loss at No. 1 Arizona on Wednesday evening. NMSU opened the season 7-1, but has dropped four straight games.

The Aggies are the defending WAC champions and NCAA tournament participants with an offense that is averaging a productive 74.8 points per game and shooting 46.6 percent from the field. Daniel Mullings leads NMSU with 17.7 points per game while 7-foot, 5-inch center Sim Buhullar is hauling in 7.2 rebounds per game and making 70.9 percent of his shots.

That monolith in the paint will provide a challenge to a Drake team that has outrebounded six of its eight opponents to date with five Bulldogs pulling down four or more rebounds per game. In addition to a renewed emphasis on rebounding, the Bulldogs’ defense has performed as expected by holding every opponent below its season scoring average this season and all but one below its season field goal percentage.

Offensively, Drake has converted on 48.8 percent of its shots with Richard Carter (Detroit, Mich.) leading the way with a 20.3 points per game average that ranks 39th nationally. His teammate on the wing, Chris Caird (Daventry, England) is coming off his best game in the Blue and White – a 21-point outburst in the loss to Iowa. On the season, he is averaging 8.6 points per game and is one of the slew of Bulldogs whose production will be counted on even more with the absence of Gary Ricks, Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif.)  from the lineup. On Wednesday, head coach Ray Giacoletti announced that Ricks would miss the remainder of the season with a broken bone in his left foot. Ricks was the team’s second leading scorer at 12.3 points per game with a team-high 18 three-pointers and a nearly 4-to-1 assist to turnover ratio.

Saturday’s game is the 27th meeting between the former Missouri Valley Conference rivals but just the second since 1983. NMSU was a member of the league from 1970-82 and owns a 17-9 advantage in the series. 

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