DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University men’s basketball team returns home following a two-game road swing to host Illinois State Saturday afternoon in the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Saturday’s game will be broadcast in Iowa on Mediacom MC22 and elsewhere on CSN Chicago as part of ISU’s television broadcast package. Online streaming video will be available on www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com and ESPN3.com.
The Bulldogs take to their home court aiming to end a four-game losing skid that has dropped the team to 10-7 overall and 1-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference. In the team’s last outing, it suffered a 70-60 loss at Loyola despite 19 points from senior Richard Carter (Detroit, Mich.) and 11 rebounds from freshman Jacob Enevold Jensen.
The Redbirds travel to Des Moines with a 10-7 overall record and a 3-2 mark in MVC games after defeating Evansville in overtime, 79-78, on Wednesday evening. The team also has conference wins over Southern Illinois and Loyola.
Illinois State is averaging 70.1 points per game despite shooting 40 percent from the field. The Redbirds are led by Daishon Knight’s 12.9 points per game with Zach Lofton adding 11.9 points per outing.
Aside from being long-time MVC rivals, Drake’s coaching staff is also distantly familiar with ISU as head coach Ray Giacoletti was an assistant at Illinois State from 1990-93 under then head coach Bob Bender. There, he helped the Redbirds to a 60-57 record and a pair of regular-season titles.
For the Bulldogs, Carter leads the team in scoring this season with 17.9 points per game while Jordan Daniels (Fontana, Calif. ) and Aaron Hawley (Rogers, Ark.) have provided a bump in conference games with the two adding 14.6 points each against MVC teams. They are also shooting a combined 21-of-42 from the three-point arc in conference games. Hawley is also the MVC’s active leader in three-pointers with 116 in his four-year career to date.
In the paint, stalwart senior Seth VanDeest is moving closer to being the 24th Bulldog to reach the career 1,000-point mark. He currently has 924 career points to rank 32nd all-time at Drake and needs just eight more points to move into 31st. His rebounding and defense have been critical to Drake’s success this season. The Bulldogs are a perfect 10-0 when outrebounding their opponent and 8-3 when holding the opposition to less than 70 points.
Saturday’s game is the 79th all-time between the two programs. Illinois State leads the series with the Bulldogs by a 49-29 margin. The teams split the series last season with each team winning on the road.