KJís Basketball Newsletter                            November 22, 2000

IOWA 73, DRAKE  71

Man, what a game!  The arena was absolutely packed, a record crowd of 7,100+ in Knapp Center.  Hawkeye supporters came in droves and virtually balanced the Bulldog supporters.  Yellow here, Blue there, black, white, etc.  As a fan, you have to love the placeÖ.particularly when you get a crowd of that size.

Drake came out strong and, coupled with some good breaks, soon built an 8-point lead that they maintained for most of the first half.  The Bulldogs were carried by their post man, Greg Danielson, who finished with 24 points and 5 rebounds. Aaron Thomas finished with 13, making 3 of 4 three pointers.  I was impressed with reserve Dontaie Smith, who added 8 points in 30 minutes.

Iowaís hero throughout the game was Luke Recker, who finished with 26 points.  I was struck by the fact that, aside from his super-smooth stroke, a lot of his success in shooting is largely due to the fact that he jumps really high! Reserve Glen Worley was very impressive, scoring 11 points and grabbing 6 rebounds.

Late in the game Iowa finally fought back to gain a six point lead, 68-62. At that stage Iím sure most people felt that Iowa was finally making itís run and with their strength advantage would finish off the Dawgs.  However, Drake came back to take a 71-70 lead on a Danielson free throw.  However, Recker made a beautiful jumper to put Iowa back on top. At 2.3 left, Drake lost the ball, and fouled Oliver, who made one free throw.  As time ran out, Aaron Thomas just barely missed from back of halfcourt.

I like both these teams a lot and hated to see either one lose.  Drake doesnít have anything to be ashamed of, as they showed better against strong competition than anyone predicted.  They shot well (45% from the field and 83% from the line) and didnít make many mistakes against an Iowa team that is bigger, stronger and probably more talented.  Although ending one short on the score, I believe Drake actually outplayed the visiting Hawkeyes, but suffered under some questionable calls.

I donít think Iowa looked bad, they just didnít seem to be very inspired, in spite of the fact that Alford played his smaller lineup much of the way.  The Hawks have a lot of talent; Evans is really a horse at both ends of the court, Recker is a sure scorer, Oliver is intelligent and deft; and Duez is finally playing smart.  I was surprised that Iowaís big men, Reiner and Sonderleiter didnít play much, leaving the center to Reggie Evans.  While Evans certainly held his own in the post, he looked more effective when facing the basket.

In the end, talent won over hustle, but just barely.  Had Thomasí long shot at the buzzer been slightly to the left, the Bulldogs would have finally gotten the monkey off their back.  It was that close, and that exciting, and that enjoyable.