Drake (10-6) at Loyola-Chicago (6-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 15, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentile Arena (4,486) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Drake 5-2, Loyola 5-2. Away Record: Drake 3-3, Loyola 0-7. Neutral Record: Drake 2-1, Loyola 1-1. Conference Record: Drake 1-3, Loyola 1-3. Series Record: Loyola-Chicago leads, 10-9.
GAME NOTES: The Drake Bulldogs try to bring an end to a three-game slide, as they pay a visit to the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago for a Missouri Valley Conference clash on Wednesday night.
Since putting together their second four-game win streak of the season, the Bulldogs have come out on the short end of three consecutive outings, all of them in league play as well. The latest setback took place last Saturday night as the team bowed at Northern Iowa, 76-66.
Like the Bulldogs, Loyola is also just 1-3 in MVC action entering the week. The squad has won only once in the last six decisions, an 89-57 thrashing of Missouri State at Gentile Arena. Also in action last Saturday, the Ramblers were dumped by Illinois State on the road, 59-50.
The Ramblers lead the all-time series by a count of 10-9, although the most recent meeting took place back in 1999 with Loyola coming up with a 70-66 triumph at home.
Drake was within striking distance at the break against the Panthers last Saturday, but then the Bulldogs made a total of just 11 field goals and converted 3-of-13 behind the 3-point line in the second half. Jordan Daniels was the high scorer for the visitors with 18 points, followed by Aaron Hawley with 11, but the latter converted just 4-of-12 from the floor and 1-of-7 out on the perimeter.
With a different leading scorer in each of the last three outings, the Bulldogs have lost their sense of continuity somewhat, but still Carter is the top overall scorer for the group with 17.9 ppg. Also first on the team in assists (51) and steals (35), Carter has been quite successful at the free- throw line (85-of-109) where he has already made good on twice as many attempts as his closest teammate.
If the Ramblers thought it couldn't get any worse than making just nine field goals in the first half versus Illinois State, the team was not prepared for the second frame when it knocked down just eight baskets, en route to the nine-point road loss. Milton Doyle tried to keep hope alive with his game-high 15 points, to go along with eight rebounds, but he was guilty of five of the unit's 19 turnovers. Jeff White added 12 points in the losing cause as well.
One of four players to have started every game, Doyle leads the program in scoring with 14.6 ppg and is also tied for the top spot in assists with 51, although he has also been charged with 54 turnovers. Christian Thomas accounts for 14.1 ppg and 6.8 rpg, having shot 57.9 percent from the floor, but for someone who handles the ball as much as he does, surely Thomas should average even one assist per game even by accident.
As long as Carter is able to make his way to the charity stripe with some regularity tonight, this is a game that could easily fall in favor of the visiting Bulldogs.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Drake 68, Loyola-Chicago 64
01/15 10:33:36 ET