DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University men’s basketball team returns to its home court Wednesday evening to continue Missouri Valley Conference play against Evansville. Tipoff at the Knapp Center is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with the contest being broadcast on Mediacom MC22.
The Purple Aces travel to Des Moines in second place in the MVC standings with a 4-1 MVC record after defeating No. 23 Wichita State, 71-67, on Sunday night. The Aces are 11-6 overall this season and have won four straight games.
“Evansville is one of the toughest teams you can play in college basketball,” Drake head coach Mark Phelps said. “I think Marty [Simmons] does a great job of making his players understand their roles. They defend and they’re tough. Every single play you have to battle against those guys.”
Colt Ryan leads Evansville with 16.4 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting and 38.1 percent from behind the arc. Point guard Troy Taylor is one of the top rebounding guards in the nation with a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game with 4.3 assists per game. Defensively, the Purple Aces have allowed an average of 63.3 points per game in their last four outings.
Drake returns home at 7-9 this season and 1-4 in the MVC after earning an 82-77 road win at Illinois State on Saturday that saw the Bulldogs overcome a 9-point halftime deficit.
“We didn’t over think anything and we played like we see our guys practice,” Phelps said of Saturday’s win. “I thought our defense was much better in the second half and that helped us on the offensive end. It was a result of us just concentrating on playing as hard as we could.”
Drake had two players record a double-double in the win at Illinois State as Jordan Clarke had 16 points and 11 rebounds while freshman Joey King scored 11 points with 11 rebounds to accomplish that feat for the first time since 2009. King also leads all MVC freshmen in scoring and rebounding in conference games with 13.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in league games.
The Bulldogs’ three-point shooting also returned to form with a 41.7 percent performance on 10-of-24 shooting. On the season, Drake is shooting 38.7 percent to rank 25th nationally.
Following Wednesday’s contest, the Bulldogs will return to the road to face Northern Iowa on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Cedar Falls.