Drake (2-0) at Saint Mary's-CA (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: None. Home Record: Drake 1-0, SMC 3-0. Away Record: Drake 1-0, SMC 0-0. Neutral Record: Drake 0-0, SMC 0-0. Conference Record: Drake 0-0, SMC 0-0. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Gaels of Saint Mary's try to run their record to a perfect 4-0, as they host the Drake Bulldogs in non-conference action at McKeon Pavilion.
The Gaels, who don't even leave Moraga until the middle of December when they visit Boise State, have rattled off three straight wins coming out of the gate, First, the team dismissed Louisiana Tech by an 83-70 score on opening night, followed by an 85-63 victory over Akron on Tuesday. Two nights ago, the squad rolled over North Dakota State, 78-65.
As for the Bulldogs, they too are undefeated at the moment with a pair of wins. Drake had a close call at Illinois-Chicago in the opener but managed to pull out a 61-59 triumph. Earlier this week the squad turned around and completely dominated Iowa Wesleyan, 104-49, in the third-most lopsided decision in program history.
In terms of the all-time series between these two teams, SMC owns a 2-0 advantage. Last season, they met on Drake's home floor, with the visitors capturing an 88-73 victory the first week of December.
Drake scored the first points of the game against Iowa Wesleyan and never looked back, shooting 59.4 percent from the floor in the first half and then a staggering 69.0 percent after the break. The bench for the hosts accounted for 62 points, which by itself was enough to defeat the visitors. Blake Danielak paced four players in double figures as he dropped in 18 points in 20 minutes, followed by Jacob Enevold who sank all but one of his eight field goals for 17 points in just as many minutes. Richard Carter and Gary Ricks were the only starters in double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Obviously the numbers for some of the regulars are a bit skewed at this moment due to the fact that they played limited minutes the last time out, but still Carter leads the way in scoring with 26.0 ppg as he shoots 66.7 percent from the field. Ricks checks in with 10.5 ppg as a 77.8 percent shooter. The team as a whole has made good on 54.3 percent from the floor, compared to only 36.3 percent for the opposition.
Saint Mary's led almost the entire way against North Dakota State on Thursday night, improving from a mere 40.7 percent shooting from the floor in the first half to a staggering 70 percent after the break, en route to the double-digit win. Brad Waldow recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, adding five assists and three blocked shots for good measure, all while shooting 7-of-9 from the floor. Beau Levesque came up a rebound shy of a double-double himself as he dropped in 14 points, followed by Matt Hodgson who tacked on 10 points before fouling out.
Through three games, Waldow leads the Gaels in scoring with 20.7 ppg, thanks mostly to his 68.6 percent accuracy from the field and not so much his 66.7 percent effort at the free-throw line. Stephen Holt checks in with 13.0 ppg and is also first with 19 assists against just six turnovers, which somewhat makes up for his dismal 32.0 percent shooting at the moment. As a team, SMC is posting 82.0 ppg, hitting on 46.2 percent behind the 3-point line and 80 percent at the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs have to be careful not to read too much into their blowout win the last time out, because the Gaels are another breed altogether and can take down almost anyone these days, particularly at home where they have been so dominant for a number of years.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 84, Drake 68
11/16 10:39:28 ET