The Drake Bulldogs men's basketball squad knew they would need to find that certain "step-up" player to support Josh Young this season. The only problem: Josh Young was not dressed for the game as the Bulldogs fell to a talented IUPUI Jaguars 88-82 Saturday afternoon in Des Moines.
Young suffered a hip pointer in practice and was dressed in street clothes for the game. He is questionable for the contest against Iowa State on Tuesday.
Young's teammates revealed a glaring weakness: defense.
IUPUI shot a spectacular 67.3 percent—with the help of easy access to the basket. The Jaguars dominated the Drake defense down below, scoring 42 points in the paint and recording seven dunks.
Forward Robert Glenn led the charge for the Jaguars with a game-high 37 points. Glenn continually punished Drake's smaller defenders.
The afternoon was a tale of two halves in which the Bulldogs dominated in the early going but efforts dwindled heading into halftime and continuing til the final buzzer.
Junior Ryan Wedel, who many predicted would provide the majority of Young's support this season hit his first five shots including four three-pointers—all in the games opening three minutes and 29 seconds. After that, Wedel ran dry and wasn't heard from until late in the second half. He finished on a run that came too late, totaling 23 points to lead the Bulldogs.
IUPUI had an answer for everything, including Wedel.
Jaguar guards Alex Young and Leroy Nobles combined for a 10-for-16 effort from three-point range. The two were continually given wide open shots.
Coach Mark Phelps expressed his concerns after the game.
"We struggled on defense in the second half and weren't able to get shots," Phelps said in a Drake Athletics press release. "Clearly we have a lot of issues to address defensively."
The Bulldogs will also need to put up a stronger effort grabbing rebounds if they want to challenge in-state rival Iowa State.
IUPUI owned the boards 28-18.
Drake's weaknesses showed but the Bulldogs hope adding a healthy Young to the equation can put the team back in the swing of things. The impact he has on the team's performance was evident.
Young's replacement Frank Wiseler showed his potential ability to fill Young's shoes with a nine-point, seven-assist effort.
The Bulldogs had their moments. When they were hot—they were hot. Freshman forward Ben Simmons put his three-point range on display, hitting four three-points all in the second half.
However, in terms of overall team consistency, room for improvement is plentiful.