Drake Holds Off Loyola, 70-62|
Feb. 15, 2014
Des Moines, Iowa - Visiting Loyola (9-17, 4-10 MVC) cut a 16-point, second-half deficit to three but could not get over the hump, dropping a 70-62 decision at Drake (13-13, 4-10) tonight at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Milton Doyle and Christian Thomas finished with 16 points apiece to lead the Ramblers.
After being held to just two points on Wednesday night at Cedar Falls, Doyle scored three points in the first 33 seconds of tonight's ballgame. However, the Ramblers managed just one field goal over a 9:02 span as Drake jumped out to a 15-6 lead. Drake's lead extended to 14 (30-16) on an Aaron Hawley three-pointer and the Bulldogs stayed hot, shooting 57% in the first half to take a 34-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. Thomas kept Loyola within striking distance, scoring 11 in the period on 5-of-7 shooting, while his teammates hit just 3-of-16 in the half.
The Ramblers were noticeably more aggressive in the second half and they quickly sliced their deficit down to single-digits after interior baskets from Thomas and Nick Osborne. A Chris Caird triple gave DU a 41-27 lead but two free throws from Matt O'Leary and five quick points from Tony Nixon got the visitors within seven, 41-34, at the 14:26 mark. Hawley answered with a three-pointer that kickstarted an 11-2 run that gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the night (52-36) with 11:22 on the clock.
Loyola cranked up the defense and another Nixon trifecta made it a 57-50 game with 4:35 remaining. Joe Crisman snatched the ball away from a Drake player on a rebound and scored and Jeff White tipped in his own miss to cut the deficit to 60-55 with 2:48 left. The teams traded baskets and, after Richard Carter split a pair from the line, Doyle converted a three-point play to make it a 63-60 count with 64 seconds remaining.
Karl Madison hit two free throws on the ensuing possession to bump it back to five before Doyle converted a quick two-pointer to keep it a one-possession game with 27 ticks on the clock. Trevor Berkeley hit two clutch charity tosses and a turnover on the next Loyola possession effectively iced the game for the home team.
Doyle scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half and added a career-high 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Thomas added six rebounds and three steals to his 16 points. After hitting just 7-of-15 free throws in the first 39 minutes, Drake hit 7-of-8 in the last 31 seconds to secure the victory.
Loyola heads back home and prepares for a Wednesday night clash with No. 4/2 Wichita State. Tip-off from Gentile Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.