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Drake men fall to no. 5 Wichita State, 78-61

This news story was published on January 26, 2014.
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drake-bulldogs-logo-smallDES MOINES – Despite a strong performance by the Bulldogs in the first half, the Drake University men’s basketball team fell to No. 5 Wichita State, 78-61, Saturday night at the Knapp Center in front of 6,127 fans.

“That team [Wichita State] is extremely tough-minded. Each possession, offensively and defensively they control their destiny,” said Drake head coach Ray Giacolleti. “They don’t splinter ever. We were not able to make them splinter.”

Drake (11-9, 2-6 MVC) kept the game tight in the first half, tying the game four times in the first 10 minutes of play. Both Drake and Wichita State (21-0, 8-0 MVC) shot better than 50 percent from the floor for most of the first half, but the Shockers came back to out-shoot the Bulldogs 46 percent to 42 percent in the half. The Bulldogs came up scoreless in their last two possessions of the half to head into the locker room down, 37-29.

The game slowly got away from the Bulldogs in the second half as Wichita State held the Bulldogs scoreless from the floor through the first five minutes of the half, with Chris Caird (Daventry, England) scoring Drake’s first points from the field with a three-pointer. Wichita State went on a 9-0 run midway through the second half, pushing the score to 65-56 for a 21-point lead. The Shockers would go on to lead by as many as 25 points in the second half.

The Bulldogs sank nine shots from the floor in the second half, five of which were three-pointers as the team finished with 10 three-pointers and shot 47.6 percent from the arc. Wichita State ended the game shooting 53 percent and held a significant, 34-20, advantage in rebounding.

Senior Aaron Hawley (Rogers, Ark.) led the Drake with 16 points and four rebounds, followed by Caird’s 15 points. Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early was one of three Shockers in double-figure scoring with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds.

“He is very versatile,” Hawley said of Early. “He’s a tough match-up and that’s what a good player looks like. He’ll stretch you out and whenever you let him, he’ll take you to a rim. He’s a good player.”

Rebounding also played a factor in the difficult second half for the Bulldogs. In the first half, Drake faced a three-rebound deficit, 17-14. But the Shockers outrebounded the Bulldogs 17-6 in the second half.

“What you take away from it is you try to learn from it,” Giacoletti said. “They out-rebounded us by 14, but just their tough-mindedness defensively, that’s something that’s really hard to have with a team of 10 or 12, but we’ll continue to try to work on it.”

The Bulldogs will continue the MVC season on Wednesday against Missouri State at the Knapp Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and will be broadcast regionally on Mediacom MC22.

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