DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University men’s basketball team returns to its home court Wednesday evening to host Indiana State at 7:05 p.m. The annual Knapp Center meeting between the Bulldogs and Sycamores will be televised regionally on Mediacom MC22.
Drake returns home with a 1-1 record in Missouri Valley conference play after opening the season with a rout of Evansville and a road loss at Bradley on Saturday evening. Despite the loss in their last outing, the Bulldogs have won four of their last five games and are 10-4 overall this season to tie for the sixth best in program history through the first 14 games of a season.
“We knew that going on the road for the first time in conference play is not going to be easy and they [Bradley] were the more aggressive of the two teams,” Drake head coach Ry Giacoletti said of Saturday’s loss. “We need to get back to being the aggressor and for us to have a chance to be successful we need to be able to start that way.”
In the loss at Bradley, senior Aaron Hawley (Rogers, Ark.) stepped up with a career-high 27 points after junior Jordan Daniels set a career high of his own in the Evansville win with 28 points. On the season, five different players have recorded a total of nine games with 20 or more points.
The Sycamores were picked to finish second in the MVC’s annual preseason poll and have jumped out to a 2-0 start in the league after defeating Evansville, 81-62, on the road Saturday. Khristian Smith scored 27 points while Dawon Cummings had 22 in that win to improve Indiana State to 11-3 overall. Guard Jake Odom leads the team with 12.9 points per game and 4.9 points per game.
“The first thing we need to do is get Odum stopped in transition,” Giacoletti said. “He pushes the ball and plays so free and easy to set others up and make those around him so much better.”
The Sycamores have won four straight games and eight of their last nine while going 5-2 on the road this season. However, Drake has won two straight games in the series and is 15-5 against the Sycamores in the Knapp Center.
Following Wednesday’s game, the Bulldogs return to the road to take on UNI on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the McLeod Center. The team returns the following Wednesday to host MVC newcomer Loyola.