CHICAGO -- Richard Carter came close to beating Illinois-Chicago by himself.
Scoring Drake's first 16 points of the second half on Saturday night, the senior guard led the Bulldogs to a 61-59 win in both teams' season opener at UIC Pavilion.
Carter finished with 38 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field and 12-of-12 accuracy at the foul line, far eclipsing his career high of 20 points set last year in an upset of Creighton. He averaged 9.2 points last season, connecting on just 39.3 percent of his shots from the floor, but sank nine in a row until missing a jumper with five minutes left.
Carter's performance made a winner of Ray Giacoletti in his first game as Drake's coach. Giacoletti, the former coach at Eastern Washington and Utah, served as Mark Few's top assistant at Gonzaga the last six years.
The Flames trailed 55-46 with 6:02 left after a 3-pointer by Chris Caird but closed to 58-57 when Gabe Snider hit a 3-pointer with 2:34 remaining. Carter's layup with two minutes left gave the Bulldogs just enough cushion to hold on for the win.
Marc Brown led UIC with 20 points. Purdue transfer Kelsey Barlow added 11 points in his first game and Hayden Humes scored 10.
The Flames had two chances to tie or win in the last 10 seconds, but Snider missed a 3-point shot and Humes failed on a layup as time expired.
Gary Ricks added 10 points for Drake, which hosts Iowa Wesleyan on Tuesday night. UIC welcomes Roosevelt on Wednesday night.