Bears falter at end as Drake wins 13th straight game, 65-54
The Missouri State Bears used most of the second half erasing an 11-point Drake scoring advantage to start the half, and, after the Bears had finally pulled even, let Drake put together an 11-0 run to end the game, resulting in a 65-54 Missouri Valley Conference win for the league-leading Bulldogs Saturday night in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a school record 13th victory in a row for Drake as the Bulldogs, picked for ninth in the Valley preseason poll, climbed to 14-1 for the year.
The Valley’s leading three-point shooting team, Drake buried five of its first six treys to start the second half as the ’Dogs quickly overcame a 30-28 Missouri State halftime edge. The Bulldogs built a 10-point lead at 46-36 before the Bears started back. For the second game in a row, Dale Lamberth came off the bench and fired the MSU attack. He scored 11 of the Bears’ next 15 points, including a three-point play with 4:55 left to finally get Missouri State even at 51-51.
Drake’s Klayton Korver answered with a long three-pointer eight seconds later but the Bears’ Spencer Laurie fired in a trey to knot the game at 54-54 with 4:18 to play. The Bears did not score again as they missed their last 10 shots from the field while Drake was converting two layups and seven free throws for its double-digit final margin.
Drake hit two early threes and jumped out to a 10-4 edge before Deven Mitchell warmed up and brought MSU back even at 10-10. The lead changed hands four times before the Bears broke from a 21-21 deadlock for a 28-21 lead before the Bulldogs closed to within two at the intermission.
The Drake win was the Bulldogs’ first over Missouri State in five years and ended a 10-game losing streak to the Bears. Drake moved to 5-0 atop the Valley while dropping MSU to 2-3 in conference play. The Bears dropped their seventh game in eight starts away from Hammons Student Center and fell to 9-8 for the season.
The Bulldogs’ second half long-range surge of .462 (6/13) came after DU had hit just .267 (4/15) threes the first half. Missouri State cashed in just 2-of-9 from long range the first half but connected on just one-of-11 after the break. The Bears hit all seven of their free throws at Drake after a perfect 10-of-10 from the foul line in last Tuesday’s home win over Wichita State. It marked the first time since Jan. 21-26, 1985, vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay and Cleveland State that a Missouri State team put two perfect free throw shooting games back-to-back.
The Bears’ two-point halftime lead was sparked by an 18-10 intermission rebound margin, but the Bulldogs stormed the boards the second half and outrebounded MSU for the night, 31-29.
Korver, Jonathan Cox and Leonard Houston combined for nine of Drake’s 10 three-pointers in the game as Korver finished with 19 points while Houston got 16 and Cox added 13. Lamberth led the Bears with 19 and Mitchell scored 10.
The Bears return to Hammons to host the Indiana State Sycamores in Valley action Tuesday (Jan. 15) at 7:05 p.m.