Since Drake and UNI swept Iowa and Iowa State, the MVC behemouths play for the mythical Iowa champoionship during the rest of the season. Sounds like our worst of three in state efforts was at Iowa. McD has just left the tougher MVC league, ranked second in the country for ferocity.
A.J. Calvin had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Nick Grant added a season-high 19 points as Drake beat Iowa 75-59 Saturday night to end a 27-game losing streak to its cross-state rival.
Chris Bryant went 4-for-5 from 3-point range while scoring 13 points for the Bulldogs (7-2), off to their best start since the 1984-85 season. Aliou Keita contributed 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks for Drake.
Adam Haluska's 21 points led Iowa (5-6), off to its worst start in 32 years. But Haluska shot just 5-for-15 and had only one field goal in the second half.
A record crowd of 7,268 at the Knapp Center saw Drake beat Iowa for the first time since a 72-69 victory on Dec. 9, 1978. As the final seconds ticked away, Grant strutted around the court showing the crowd his jersey. Students rushed the floor when the buzzer sounded and surrounded the players.
It also was a satisfying victory for Drake coach Tom Davis, who coached Iowa for 13 years before being let go after the 1998-99 season. He's in his fourth season at Drake.
Drake took control with a 15-3 run late in the first half and never let up. The Bulldogs constantly beat their defenders off the dribble, frustrated the Hawkeyes with their defensive pressure and outrebounded them 41-23.
Ahead by 10 at the half, Drake broke it open early in the second half behind some key plays by Grant.
Grant's driving basket and fastbreak layup on a pass from Al Stewart stretched the lead to 46-32. The lead grew to 51-36 when Bryant swished a 3-pointer from the right side and Jonathan Cox scored on a drive.
Iowa drew to 53-45 on the last of Justin Johnson's three straight 3-pointers but got no closer. Grant converted a three-point play on a strong move inside to start a 10-0 run that made it 63-45 and the Hawkeyes never threatened again.
The Bulldogs put an exclamation mark on the victory when Leonard Houston drove into the lane and dished to Calvin for a rim-shaking, two-handed dunk, making it 70-51.
Tyler Smith added 16 points for Iowa and Johnson scored 12 on 4-for-5 3-point shooting.
Bryant, who was just 7-for-28 on 3-pointers coming in, went 3-for-3 from long range in the first half, including two during Drake's big run.
Iowa took a 21-20 lead on consecutive 3-pointers by Haluska and Johnson, then managed only three free throws over the next 5½ minutes and the Bulldogs capitalized.
Bryant's 3 from the right wing capped an 8-0 run that made it 30-22. After Haluska sank two free throws, Bryant nailed a long 3 from the right of the key and Stewart, the shortest player on the floor at 5-feet-10, scored off an offensive rebound for a 35-24 lead.
Drake led 38-26 before Iowa's Mike Henderson drove the lane for a bucket just before halftime.
Looking forward to CFH magic for the next bball season, Georges style.
I think Iowa and Iowa State will play a very small part in judging the quality of the Big 12 and Big 10. At this point anyway, both look to be at or near the bottom of their respective conference. Iowa's probably better than N'Western and Iowa State is probably better than Colorado.
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Iowa State vs. George Mason (Diamond Head Classic)