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first_imgDES MOINES, Iowa – Friday night marks the start of the 2015-16 regular season for the Drake University men’s basketball team as it takes on nearby Simpson College at the Knapp Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and tickets are available for as low $10. The contest will also be broadcast via The Valley on ESPN3 and radio on ESPN 1350-AM.  “We’re excited to get going, it’s been a long time coming. The guys have been together since June,” said Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti. “Simpson will pose a challenge like McKendree with a 5-man that can pick-and-pop and shoot the three. We have to be ready to defend that.” The Bulldogs open the season in earnest following a 95-78 victory over McKendree last Saturday in the team’s lone exhibition game. The Bulldogs shot 59.3 percent  from the field and 59.1 percent from three-point range. “I though we did a good job sharing the ball with 21 assists,” Giacoletti said of the team’s offense. “We only turned it over 11 times. Those two aspects give you a chance to be successful.”The team was led by Drake newcomer Kale Abrahamson (West Des Moines, Iowa), who scored 22 points in his first game in Blue & White. Fifteen of those points came from behind the three-point arc. Abrahamson’s scoring streak in the first half captured the momentum and led the team to a 14 point lead at half.Graham Woodward (Edina, Minn.) posted 18 points and 8 assists in his first action under coach Ray Giacoletti. Reed Timmer (New Berlin, Wis.), a returning starter, finished with 16 points in the game.  Friday’s opponent, Simpson, lost only one starter in the offseason – leading  scorer Charles Swain – and returns four starters as well as reserve shooting guard Ryan Skarr. Skarr lead the IIAC in three-point accuracy last season, making more than 50 percent of his attempts. Simpson head coach Brad Bjorkgren, a Simpson graduate, is making his collegiate head coaching debut Friday. “We don’t have any film on them [Simpson] , other than from last season,” Giacoletti said. “Their head coach was a very successful high school coach here in Des Moines and we’re going in a little bit blind with not having a whole lot of opportunity to scout them.”The Storm finished last season with a 6-19 record and lost to Drake, 84-62, in the teams’  meeting last season. Following Friday’s game, the Bulldogs will take to the road to face Tulane on Monday, Nov. 16. Tipoff in New Orleans is slated for 7 p.m. with that contest also available on ESPN3.Print Friendly Versionlast_img