DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake men’s basketball team starts the final quarter of the season on Sunday afternoon when it faces Indiana State in an MVC TV telecast at 2:05 p.m. CST. The game will be carried in Des Moines on Fox Sports Midwest and streamed on ESPN3 for those outside of the five-state MVC TV footprint.
Sunday’s contest in the Hulman Center will be the second between the two teams this season. In the first meeting between, the Sycamores escaped the Knapp Center with a narrow, 77-73, victory on Jan. 8. However, the last time the pair squared off in Terre Haute, Drake was victorious against a Sycamore squad that was garnering potential NCAA at-large considerations with a 67-56 win.
“There’s seven games left so your opportunities are very limited and you have to make the most of those,” Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti said of the season’s stretch run. “Hopefully we do that on Sunday.”
This season, the Bulldogs are 12-11 overall and 3-8 in the MVC after falling to SIU, 74-58, on Tuesday evening. The loss was the Bulldogs’ second straight and team has gone 2-3 in its last five games. Drake has been lead in scoring all season by Richard Carter’s 17.0 points per game with eight 20-point games on the season. One of those outbursts came in the first meeting with Indiana State as he poured in 29 points.
Indiana State sits in second place in the MVC standings at 8-3 in MVC action at 17-6 overall and have won three of their last five games.
“Their transition offense can really push it hard at you with one of the best point guards [Jake Odum] in the league,” Giacoletti said. “We’ve got to slow him down and get stops – especially in transition – and guard dribble penetration.”
Currently, five Sycamores are averaging double-figures with Jake Odum’s 12.3 points per game leading the way along with nearly five assists per game.
“He’s just so smart and understands how to make his team better and makes good decisions,” Giacoletti said of Odum.
Offensively, the Bulldogs are the Valley’s most accurate three-point shooting team at 39.6 percent on the season and are averaging 8.5 three-pointers per game in conference action. Indiana State is the league’s second most accurate team from the arc at 37.7 percent. In MVC action, the sharpshooting trio of Jordan Daniels, Aaron Hawley and Chris Caird are shooting a combined 47.3 percent (69-of-146) from three-point range.
However, rebounding and defense have been paramount to Drake’s success this season. The Bulldogs are 12-1 when outrebounding their opponent and 9-3 when holding the opposition to less than 70 points, something that, along with effort has been stressed all season.
“We’ve talked about effort and holding each other accountable,” Giacoletti said. “Those are the two things that are a minimum standard. Our guys have come back and had two good days of practice, but you have to take the next step and do it on the scoreboard.”