Saint Mary's-CA (5-2) at Drake (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 5, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Drake Knapp Center (7,002) -- Des Moines, Iowa. Television: None. Home Record: SMC 3-0, Drake 1-0. Away Record: SMC 1-0, Drake 1-1. Neutral Record: SMC 1-2, Drake 1-2. Conference Record: SMC 0-0, Drake 0-0. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Mary's-CA Gaels play just their second true road game of the season on Wednesday, as they test the Drake Bulldogs in non-conference action at the Drake Knapp Center in Des Moines.
Winners of four straight to begin the 2012-13 campaign, the Gaels suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Pacific and Georgia Tech as part of the 2012 DirecTV Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center last month. More recently, the squad landed back in the win column with a convincing 86-68 triumph over Cal Poly at home on Saturday.
As for the Bulldogs, they've spent much of the early part of the season on the road, playing just once at home in the opener against William Jewell in a 96-66 victory. The last time out Drake paid a visit to the Nevada Wolf Pack and managed to capture a 76-66 win in Reno on Friday as part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge. The victory was the second in the last three outings for the program and evened their record overall at 3-3.
The Gaels won the only previous meeting between the teams, a 72-66 final at home in Moraga, California in 2007.
Against Cal Poly the Gaels made good on an impressive 64.4 percent of their field goal attempts, including 7-of-12 behind the three-point line, and the squad pretty much needed it because the Mustangs connected on 52.1 percent from the floor and 9-of-18 on the perimeter as well. Four of five starters finished in double figures for SMC, beginning with Brad Waldow with 17 points, followed by Matthew Dellavedova and reserve Matt Hodgson with 13 apiece, while Jorden Page tacked on 12 points and Mitchell Young 11 in the triumph. Dellavedova, who also handed out a game-high nine assists, now has 38 dishes on the campaign and continues to lead the group in scoring with his 16.6 ppg. Stephen Holt, who sat out the Cal Poly contest with a bruised knee, accounts for 12.0 ppg and 5.3 rpg, followed by Waldow with his 10.9 ppg and 5.7 rpg as he shoots 61.5 percent from the floor in order to raise the entire team's level of accuracy to almost 50 percent.
In the first half against Nevada, the Bulldogs recorded 11 second-chance points in order to give themselves some breathing room, compared to the Wolf Pack which had no such opportunities in the period, en route to the double- digit win. Drake spread the wealth rather well as Richard Carter led five players in double figures with his 16 points, adding seven rebounds and four assists as well. Jordan Clarke tacked on 15 points, Seth VanDeest 14, while Ben Simons and Jeremy Jeffers responded with 11 points apiece. Playing more than 34 minutes per game in the early going, Simons paces the team in scoring with his 16.3 ppg, doing a good bit of damage behind the three-point line where he is 43.2 percent accurate, which is actually better than his 41.8 percent effort from the floor overall. Clarke is averaging a double-double with 12.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest, but that still doesn't make up for the fact that he is shooting a woeful 46.0 percent (23-of-50) at the free- throw line.
In Clarke the Bulldogs have a major force in the paint, but at the same time he can be a liability during crunch time, which is something SMC might want to explore if needed.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 77, Drake 70
12/05 10:32:57 ET