The Drake University men’s basketball team captured a 79-66 win over SIUE Monday evening as part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
Four Bulldogs scored in double figures as Drake moved to 7-2 on the season. Nick Norton lead the pack with 15, while Nick McGlynn added 13. D.J. Wilkins scored 12 points and tied a career high with five assists and Anthony Murphy chipped in 11 points.
“This was a good bounce-back win for us,” said Drake head coach Darian DeVries. “It wasn’t as pretty as we would have liked, but we did some good things. Turnovers were an issue and we need to clean that up. It was an ugly game, but the guys made the plays when they needed to and executed when they needed to.”
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm in the opening half. A layup by Tremell Murphy (Griffith, Ind.) ended a five-minute scoring drought for the Bulldogs to take the lead at 13-12 with 12:51 remaining. A slow stretch followed as both teams combined for 20 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of the game. However, Drake was able to find its flow after a three-pointer from Wilkins which sparked a 15-5 run to close the half with a 40-32 lead.
“I thought our activity defensively was good during spurts,” DeVries added. “Guys were getting deflections that allowed us to get out in transition.”
The Bulldogs ended the first 20 minutes shooting 59.3 percent (16-27) from the floor and assisted on 14 of their 16 field goals.
Drake jumped out to a 10-0 run to open the second half behind four points each from Wilkins and McGlynn. SIUE pulled within nine points with nine minutes remaining, but Drake pressed on to claim the victory. Drake held a 48-22 advantage in paint points and a 39-28 advantage on the glass for the game.
“I thought we did a nice job in the second half getting the ball inside more and getting more off back screens,” DeVries said. “I thought the guys did a nice job executing that and getting the ball into Nick and Tremell.”
SIUE (2-6) was led by senior David McFarland who ended the night with 19 points.
The Bulldogs host Rider Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Knapp Center.
“Rider is a really good basketball team. They were in the NIT last year. They’re going to press us, get up and down and it’s a game we need to get some rest and play better on Wednesday.”