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Men's Basketball And UNI To Meet Tuesday

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: February 17, 2014
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The Drake men’s basketball team wraps up its two-game homestand and plays its next-to-last home game of the season Tuesday evening when it hosts in-state rival UNI. The contest, which tips off at 8 p.m.,  is part of the MVC TV package and will air locally on Fox Sports Midwest and other MVC TV outlets

In the first meeting between the two teams this season, Drake held a second-half lead but the Panthers rallied to score on 10 straight possessions at one point to claim a 76-66 victory in the McLeod Center. Tuesday’s second meeting will come on a short turnaround for both teams following the Bulldogs’ 70-62 win over Loyola on Saturday that snapped a four-game  skid.

The Panthers travel to Des Moines riding a two-game win streak after a tip-in at the buzzer against Missouri State to claim a 60-58 win on the road. UNI is 13-13 overall and 7-7 in MVC action. Against MVC competition the team is averaging 75.4 points per game and shooting 40.5 percent from the three-point arc while averaging 9.7 three-pointers per game.

In all games, the team is led by Seth Tuttle’s 14.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game with 50.4 percent shooting.

“They are really tough to defend because 1-throug-5, they can shoot the three,” said Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti. “Seth Tuttle is such a tough matchup because he’s such a facilitator and finds open shooters.”

Shooting has been one of the Bulldogs’ strengths as well as the team is The Valley’s most accurate three-point shooting team at 39.5 percent on the season and are averaging 8.2 three-pointers per game in conference action. Both of those rates are on pace to be Drake’s best in the last six seasons. However, the offense’s goal remains to establish a presence inside.

“We’ve been better when we’ve started off going inside because if we can get Seth [VanDeest] and Jacob [Enevold] buckets, then we can get shots on our terms,” Giacoletti said. “We want establish ourselves inside before we start shooting threes and those should come from making the extra pass inside.”

VanDeest is coming one of his best games this season in which he established himself as a scoring and passing threat. Against Loyola he recorded a career-high 12 rebounds, eight points and four assists. The senior currently has 967 career points at Drake.

Following Tuesday’s game, the Bulldogs hit the road for two straight games starting with Saturday’s contest at No. 3/2 Wichita State. The team closes out the home season on March 1 against Bradley.

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