Richard Carter scored a career-best 38 points and Drake hung on to escape UIC with a 61-59 victory for new coach Ray Giacoletti on Saturday.
Carter, who averaged less than 10 points per game last season, hit 12 of 17 from the field and was 12-for-12 from the line, but even so the Bulldogs had to sweat the ending as a 9-point lead evaporated in the final eight minutes.
UIC’s Hayden Hume slashed to the basket with one second remaining only to have his layup rim in and out. Drake’s Jacob Enevold, who only played 11 minutes because of foul trouble, had subbed in for defense with 6 seconds left and snagged the win-preserving rebound, his only one of the game.
Marc Brown led the Flames with 22 points, Kelsey Barlow added 11 and Hume 10.