The Drake Bulldogs streak of covers was finally ended yesterday in an overtime victory against the Illinois State Redbirds, winning 78-76. The Bulldogs struggled from the field the entire game, notably they struggled from behind the arc, shooting just 4-30 from three. Star forward Shaquan Hemphill was also held in check, scoring just 6 points total in the game. Drake’s offense was not clicking; it was notable that their defense was not able to get stops down the stretch of the game. Drake had only given up 61 ppg and allowed just 39% shooting on the season ranking them in the top 20 in the entire nation.
Illinois State was able to strike fear into the Bulldogs and their fans making a solid second half comeback and forcing overtime. They had a perfect game plan on Sunday afternoon forcing Drake into tough shots, while hitting three’s at nearly 50%. Drake has been great at defending the three all season. They will not allow Illinois State to hit nine threes in their second contest.
Everything had to go right for Illinois State to pull off the upset on Sunday and it nearly did. The Drake Bulldogs will be able to fix the problems they had in game one and will feed the ball to Shaquan Hemphill early to establish the inside game and open up the outside shooting. Despite their solid play Illinois State still turned the ball over 18 times yesterday and that will be a big problem in the rematch. Drake will clean up their mistakes and shoot more effectively. I would look at the first half spread and see if it is manageable, but really like this to be a dominant effort from Drake to wash away the taste of near defeat heading into some bigger upcoming matchups in the Mo Valley.
Play of the day: Drake Bulldogs -17.5