Drake (1-1) vs. California (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 22, 11:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Anaheim Convention Center (9,100) -- Anaheim, California. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Drake 1-0, California 2-0. Away Record: Drake 0-1, California 1-0. Neutral Record: Drake 0-0, California 0-0. Conference Record: Drake 0-0, California 0-0. Series Record: California leads 3-1.
GAME NOTES: In the final game of the first day of the DirecTV Classic, the Drake Bulldogs and California Golden Bears will collide at Anaheim Convention Center.
Drake has split its first two games of the season. The Bulldogs opened up the year with an easy 96-66 triumph over Division II foe William Jewell. From there Drake hit the road against Detroit and fell 85-79. Win streaks were hard to come by last season for Drake, with the team finishing 18-16 with a 9-9 split in conference play.
California meanwhile is off to a fast start after earning its third win in as many games on Friday with a 72-61 road victory over Denver. The Golden Bears were at home in the other two games as they took out fellow Golden State foes Pepperdine (79-62) and CS Bakersfield (78-65). A win in this game would give California a 4-0 start for the second straight season.
The winner of this game with face the victor of the Rice/Georgia Tech matchup earlier in the day, while the losers will also pair up in consolation action.
In its loss to Detroit, Drake trailed by a double-digit margin for much of the second half and was unable to make enough shots down the stretch to complete a comeback. The Bulldogs shot 49.1 percent from the floor in the game, including 7-of-18 from beyond the arc but struggled at the free throw line (18-of-30). Ball security also proved to be an issue with Drake turning the ball over eight times. Of five players in double figures, Jordan Clarke was at the top with 17 points.
Though it took a loss against Detroit, Drake has been very effective offensively in its first two games. The Bulldogs are shooting 52.6 percent from the floor, while putting in 87.5 points per game. It remains to be seen how close to those marks Drake will remain but a downturn is likely going forward. Forward Ben Simons (18.0 ppg) is the lead scorer and is shooting an even 50.0 percent from the floor. Clarke (12.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.0 apg) has contributed across the board out of the frontcourt and has missed on just one field goal attempt. Richard Carter (14.5 ppg) and Joey King (10.0 ppg) are each scoring in double figures as well with King making his contributions off the bench.
Allen Crabbe dropped in 20 points to lead California over Denver. It was just another big scoring game in a long list of them for the 6-foot-6 guard who eclipsed 1,000 points in his career in the game. As a team California shot an impressive 51.0 percent from the floor and led by a double-double from David Kravish, had a 40-28 edge on the boards. The Golden Bears also got the free-throw line more often, outscoring the Pioneers 20-8 from the charity stripe.
In its first three games, California owns a hefty +13.6 scoring differential while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor. The Golden Bears have also cleaned up on the glass bringing in 41.7 rebounds per game. The backcourt duo of Crabbe and Justin Cobbs has been phenomenal for the Golden Bears. Crabbe (26.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) leads the team in scoring while shooting at a sizzling 57.4 percent from the floor. Not far behind him is Cobbs, who is scoring 20.7 points per game, while shooting at an even more impressive 68.6 percent from the field. Both are playing more than 33 minutes per game. The rest of the roster has added limited scoring depth with no one netting more than 6.5 points a game, although Kravish (9.3 rpg) has cleaned up on the boards.
It's one thing to know that California is going to rely on Crabbe and Cobbs. It's an entirely different thing to stop them. Drake will find that out on Thursday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 82, Drake 71
11/22 10:33:15 ET