Drake (10-5) at Northern Iowa (8-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: McLeod Center (6,650) -- Cedar Falls, Iowa. Television: Panther Sports Network. Home Record: Drake 5-2, UNI 5-0. Away Record: Drake 3-2, UNI 1-5. Neutral Record: Drake 2-1, UNI 2-2. Conference Record: Drake 1-2, UNI 2-1. Series Record: Northern Iowa leads, 38-24.
GAME NOTES: The Drake Bulldogs will try to ruin the Panthers' perfect record at the McLeod Center when they square off with Northern Iowa in a Missouri Valley Conference tilt on Saturday.
Drake began its MVC season with a 94-66 rout of Evansville, but it has since lost two games in a row at Bradley (68-57) and versus Indiana State (77-73). The Bulldogs' recent two-game slide has dropped them to a 10-5 overall record, which includes a 3-2 mark in true road tests. Drake trailed the Sycamores by 10 points at the intermission before opening up the second period on an 18-7 run to take a 48-47 lead with 11:55 remaining. Indiana State outscored the Bulldogs, 15-6, from beyond the arc in the second half to pull away.
UNI began its brief two-game road trip with a 14-point loss to the undefeated Wichita State Shockers before bouncing back with an 80-53 triumph over Evansville on Wednesday. The Purple Aces made only 40 percent of their field goal attempts and allowed UNI to hit on 47 percent of its shots from beyond the arc in the contest. The Panthers will now return home, where they have built a 5-0 record, which includes wins over Virginia Commonwealth (77-68), Iona (80-46) and Bradley (80-46).
UNI holds a 38-24 lead in the all-time series versus Drake after winning eight of the last nine meetings with the Bulldogs. Drake has been defeated in four- straight visits to Cedar Falls.
Drake fell to ISU despite a stellar performance by Richard Carter, who poured in 29 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field. Jordan Daniels added 15 points while Aaron Hawley scored 11 points. Seth Vandeest posted 10 points and blocked two shots in the loss. The Bulldogs have played well defensively by holding opponents to 66.7 ppg, which is second-best in the MVC. The Bulldogs are also second in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.396). Carter is pumping in 18.5 ppg although he has been very streaky. Drake has another dangerous player in its backcourt in 5-foot-9 guard Jordan Daniels, who has netted 15 ppg in seven games this season. Daniels is in his first season with the program since transferring from Boston College, where he received significant playing time as a freshman in 2011-12.
The Panthers used a solid group effort to dismantle Evansville. Matt Bohannon finished with 17 points while Seth Tuttle added 14 points and seven rebounds. Wes Washpun contributed 12 points and five assists while Deon Mitchell and Chip Rank scored nine points each. Mitchell also accounted for six of UNI's 20 assists. The Panthers have outscored their foes by an average of 4.4 ppg this season. Mitchell is pacing the team with 13.1 ppg in addition to 3.4 apg. The 6-8 Tuttle contributes 12.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg and also rejects 1.3 shots per tilt on the defensive end of the floor.
Drake should not be taken lightly due to its dynamic backcourt duo. The Panthers' homecourt advantage may be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome, especially since UNI is doing such a great job of playing team basketball. The Panthers managed to dispatch a very talented VCU team at home earlier this season, which makes it seem unlikely Drake will fare any better.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Iowa 73, Drake 66
01/11 10:37:50 ET