Men’s Basketball Runs Into Defensive Buzzsaw At Illinois State

first_img Next Game: Preview Box Score (PDF) at Missouri State 1/24/2017 – 7:05 p.m. Live Stats 1350 ESPN Des Moines The Valley On ESPN3 Listen Live Watch Live Story Links Full Schedule Roster Box Score (HTML) NORMAL, Ill. – The Drake University men’s basketball team engineering a strong performance but could not solve one of the nation’s top defenses in a 72-58 loss at Illinois State Saturday evening.As the top team in the Missouri Valley Conference standings, Illinois State upped its league record to 8-0 with the win and 16-4 overall by holding Drake’s high-scoring offense to just 30.5 percent shooting. Coming into the game, the Redbirds ranked fourth nationally in field goal percentage defense and 16th in scoring defense.”I’m proud of how hard our guys fought, but we knew one of the challenges tonight would be scoring,” said Drake head coach Jeff Rutter. “We faced an exceptional defensive basketball team tonight. They’re well-coached, loaded with talent and play incredibly hard on both ends of the floor.”Drake (6-14, 4-4 MVC) was led by 13 points apiece from Reed Timmer (New Berlin, Wis.) and Graham Woodward (Edina, Minn.). T.J. Thomas (Stone Mountain, Ga.) added seven points and eight rebounds, five offensive, against a tough ISU front line.The Redbirds, which Drake held to 43.6 percent shooting, were led by 19 points from Deontae Hawkins and a career-high 15 points from DJ Clayton off the bench.The Bulldogs made three of their first five three-point attempts to take an early 9-5 lead and stretch that lead to 14-5 until encountering a nearly nine-minute offensive drought. Keyed by five-straight points from MiKyle McIntosh, the Redbirds engineered a 15-0 run to take a 20-14 lead with 4:56 left in the half. McIntosh finished the game with 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.”We survived a long drought in the first half where we went about 13 possessions there without scoring, but during that stretch we stopped them on 7-of-8 possessions to hang in there,” Rutter said.Drake answered with six-straight points, including a three-pointer from Arogundade that was Drake’s first field goal in more than nine minutes to tie the game at 20-20 with 3:43 left before the Redbirds carried a 30-26 lead into the locker room.Drake pulled within two, 41-39, eight minutes into the second half but Illinois State’s defense clamped down again and held the Bulldogs scoreless for more than four minutes while going on a 10-0 run that was part of a larger 15-3 spurt to take a 56-42 lead with 6:25 left.”The zone gave us problems and it’s is in the area of execution where we can make the greatest improvement,” Rutter said. “But, to play against that stifling pressure, it was tough to get a good look.”The Redbirds extended that advantage to 18 points, 65-47, with 2:49 to play, but the undeterred Bulldogs tried to assemble one last rally and nearly did so with a 12-3 run that included back-to-back three-pointers from Casey Schlatter (Iowa Falls, Iowa) and Woodward to pull within nine points, 65-56, with 2:11 on the clock. A minute later, Drake was still within 10 points, but could get no closer as ISU’s staunch defense continues to stymie the Bulldogs as time expired.The Bulldogs have a short turnaround in continuing their MVC slate with a Tuesday evening contest at Missouri State looming next. Tipoff against the Bears at JQH Arena is set for 7 p.m. on The Valley on ESPN3.  Print Friendly Versionlast_img

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