Men’s Basketball Returns to Iowa for the First Time Since 2007 to Face Drake on Monday
COVERAGE: Fox Sports 980 AM
ALBANY, N.Y. – University at Albany men’s basketball (6-5) plays the first of two nonconference road games at Drake (7-3) on Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
The UAlbany bench sparked a 70-62 win over Yale on Friday night. Luke Devlin and Dallas Ennema combined for 17 points in Ennema’s first career appearance. The freshman went 2-for-3 from behind the arch and 3-for-4 from the field for eight points. Devlin scored nine points, his highest point total since scoring nine against Duke in the NCAA Second Round last season.
DJ Evans nearly had a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. The 5-9 point guard was the leading rebounder for either team in the win over Yale.
Two Great Danes will be making a return to their home state on Monday against Drake. Senior center John Puk (Waterloo, Iowa/Waterloo West) and Dallas Ennema (Sheldon, Iowa/Sheldon) will get a bit of a homecoming for the holidays.
Both Ennema and Puk posted impressive numbers in a 70-62 win over Yale on Friday. Puk nearly matched his career high in points with 13 against the Bulldogs. Ennema made his first career appearance and went 3-for-4 from the field for eight points. The freshman went 2-for-3 from three in 10 minutes of play.
UAlbany is making its first appearance in Iowa since a 76-64 loss at Iowa State on Dec. 30, 2007.
A FREE THROW FIRST
For the first time in 11 games, the Great Danes won despite not making more free throws than their opponent attempted against Yale. The Bulldogs went 22-for-27 from the charity stripe, while UAlbany went 16-for-21. The 70-62 win also marks just the third time all season UAlbany has taken fewer free throws than its opponent. The other two times were against Holy Cross on Dec. 4 and at Quinnipiac on Nov. 16. The Purple & Gold generates just over 25% of its offensive from the charity stripe (17.9 of 66.7 points per game).
LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN(TY)
Will Brown’s squad is 5-0 this season when scoring 70 points or more. The only win this season when the Great Danes did not score 70 or more was in a 66-55 win at NJIT on Dec. 1.
JUNIOR COLLEGE CALLING
UAlbany head coach Will Brown and first-year Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti both have a significant number of junior college transfers on their respective rosters. Sophomore Ede Egharevba (Midland), sophomore Anders Haas (State College of Florida), junior Levan Shengelia (Odessa) and junior Anthony Odunsi (Tyler) all joined the Great Danes roster from junior college programs in 2013-14, in addition to seniors Gary Johnson (Oxnard), David Wiegmann (Southwestern Illinois) and DJ Evans (East Mississippi). Giacoletti also has four junior college transfers on his roster, including Trevor Berkeley (Tyler), Chris Caird (Marshalltown), Richard Carter (Cloud) and Gary Ricks Jr. (Indian Hills). Berkeley, Caird and Carter are all prospective starters for the Bulldogs.
IT’S A DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD
For the second consecutive game, the Great Danes will face the “Bulldogs.” With a 74-62 win in the season opener, UAlbany is 2-0 against fellow dog mascots this season. The Great Danes are on a six-game winning streak in nonconference play against fellow dogs dating back to last season; with two wins against South Carolina State (Bulldogs), one against St. Francis (N.Y.) (Terrier) and a cross-town win against Siena (Saint Bernard). The Purple & Gold’s last loss to a fellow dog was on Nov. 18, 2012 against Loyola (Md.) (Greyhounds) in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off.
• The Bulldogs are sitting just outside the Mid-Major Poll with 39 votes and a 7-3 record.
• In a 71-68 win at home against Western Michigan on Wednesday, Jacob Enevold led the Bulldogs with 16 points off the bench on 7-for-10 shooting. Trevor Berkeley hit a three with 16 seconds left to clinch the win.
• Richard Carter leads the Bulldogs on offense, averaging 18.9 points per game. Enevold leads the team in rebounding with 5.7 rebounds per game. The freshman ranks third in the Missouri Valley Conference in defensive rebounds with 4.3 per game.
• Drake plays a team from the state of New York for the first time since facing St. John’s in the Great Alaska shootout on Nov. 26, 2010.
• Ray Giacoletti enters his first season at the helm of Drake. The Bulldogs were picked to finish 10th of 10 teams in the MVC Preseason Poll, but senior center Seth VanDeest was an honorable mention selection to the league’s preseason team.
• Three teams in the MVC are currently ranked in the mid-major poll, including No. 1 Wichita State