The Drake Bulldogs are a perplexing squad to watch in action.
In Friday's game against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, one minute they were up 20 points, the next they were left gasping for breath during a time out after the Cougars' forward Mark Yelovich nailed a three-pointer to bring his team within one point of Drake.
Yelovich would go on to score a game-high 24 points.
All the while, one of Drake's assistant coaches was handed duties of waking up the team.
Apparently, the Bulldogs still thought it was all just a bad dream.
The reality was SIUE taking it's first lead of the second half with 24.4 seconds left almost too easily as the lackluster Bulldogs skidded to their fifth loss of the season.
Where was the aggression, the passion, and the "100 percent reason to remember the name,"—as is stated in Drake's introduction jingle?
It was nowhere to be found.
If it makes the sting go away, SIUE went on to win the Drake-hosted Hy-Vee Classic, topping Texas-Arlington in the finals. That was the Cougars' second win of the season.
Does it feel better yet?
Here's a Band-Aid: The Bulldogs fell victim to a horrendous seven-minute 11-second scoring drought that allowed SIUE to gain control of the game and reach striking distance midway through the second half.
It didn't get any better as the end neared. Senior Craig Stanley missed a go-ahead lay up with 10.5 seconds left.
Oh, sorry, none of that helps.
Well, Stanley's fellow senior Josh Young managed just six points.
That's probably not helping either...darn.
I could go on about the bad and ugly from this game forever but don't have the time or strength.
Maybe the proper remedy is to just move on from the struggles to the good.
Saturday, Drake trumped North Dakota 72-63 to take third place in their own tournament.
Young scored a season-high 17 points—that's more like it—while freshman forward Aaron Hawley came off the bench and tied his season-high of 16—the second time the young man has stepped up in a game.
A glaring similarity between this contest and the Bulldogs' previous was yet another scoring drought, this time of eight minutes 50 seconds.
Obviously, shooting and scoring are problems that the Bulldogs need to address—along with the defense.
One thing is for sure: If Josh Young performs, so do the Bulldogs.
It's hard to continually look for that step-up performance when the team's leader is struggling—especially on this youthful, inexperienced squad.
Hopefully, Coach Phelps and his crew get things figured out in a hurry—conference play is looming nearer.
The Bulldogs' tough Missouri Valley Conference foes will make them their chew toys if they can't find some answers.