DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake University men’s basketball team rallied from a 12-point deficit, but came up short against Indiana State Wednesday night at the Knapp Center in a 77-73 loss.
The Bulldogs shot 51.6 percent in the second half to tie the game and take a brief lead after trailing by 10 at halftime, but were unable to get enough defensive stops down the stretch to defeat the Missouri Valley Conference leading Sycamores.
“The nuts and bolts of winning basketball games at this level is done on the defensive end of the floor and in rebounding,” said Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti said. “There’s a process to get where you’re going and at this point I’d hoped our team man-to-man defense would be better than it is.”
Richard Carter (Detroit, Mich.) led Drake (10-5, 1-2 MVC) with 29 points in sixth his 20-point game of the season. Jordan Daniels (Fontana, Calif.) added 15 points and Seth VanDeest (Bettendorf, Iowa) chipped in with a hard-fought 10 points and four rebounds.
“Seth gave a heck of an effort tonight and stepped up,” Giacoletti said of his center. “We got him some touches tonight which is something we’re going to continue to work on, but he goes as hard as he possibly can and we need some other people carrying on the same way.”
Manny Arop scored 16 points with six rebounds for Indiana State (12-3, 3-0 MVC) while Jake Odum was held to just four second-half points in finishing with 15 points and six assists. The Sycamores drained nine three-pointers on the night including two in the final five minutes to thwart Drake’s efforts on its home court.
Facing a 10-point, 40-30, deficit at half, the Bulldogs employed a zone defense in the second half to go on a 13-2 run and take a 48-47 lead with 11:55 left in the game on a Carter layup. However, the lead would change eight more times before Indiana State took the lead for the final time with 6:23 left in the contest.
“Zone is used to break a team’s rhythm and it worked for a while, but they put five shooters in and you can’t continue to play zone when they spread the floor like that; and we really struggled to rebound in it,” Giacoletti said. “The bottom line is we got back to even again and they scored on six of their next seven possessions and that’s how you win basketball games at this level.”
Despite reclaiming the lead, the Sycamores would never pull away and only extended the lead to eight points, 71-63, with 57 seconds after scoring on three straight possessions.
“If you watch any high-level basketball game it’s about getting stops and rebounding,” Giacoletti said. “If you do those things, you have a chance to play with anybody and it’s such a fine line between having that and not having that on any given night..”
A Carter three-pointer trimmed the margin down to five points on the next possession. Carter was 2-of-5 from the arc on the evening and 11-of-21 from the field. However, Drake was forced to send Indiana State to the free-throw line in the final minute and Arop and Odum combined to hit all six attempts before a Daniels three-pointer accounted for the final tally.
Indiana State took control of the game midway through the first half with a 12-2 run that saw scoring from four different Sycamores to turn a two-point deficit into an eight-point, 30-22, lead with 5:22 left in the period. That advantage grew to as many as 12 in the final minute of the half as the Bulldogs converted on just 39.3 percent of their shots in the opening stanza.
The Bulldogs will continue the grueling MVC season on Saturday evening at Northern Iowa. Tipoff at the McLeod Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.