Missouri State Earns 73-70 Valley Road Win at Drake
DES MOINES, Iowa - All five Missouri State starters scored in double figures, and Will Creekmore recorded his fourth double-double of the season as Missouri State earned a tough 73-70 conference road win here Tuesday over Drake.
The Bears (17-4, 9-1) grabbed their fifth Missouri Valley Conference road win of the campaign and tied a school record with their eighth win in the month of January, but needed all 40 minutes to earn the victory.
The game featured 16 lead changes before MSU took the lead for good with 2:30 to play on a three-pointer by Adam Leonard that made it a 64-62 game. From there, Creekmore and Nafis Ricks increased the Bears' advantage to six over the next two minutes.
Ricks' jumper with 43 seconds left made it 68-62, but Drake's Ryan Wedel made things interesting with a banked-in three-pointer with 35 ticks remaining. After a Jermaine Mallett travel on the in-bound play, Wedel spotted up again, but his shot was blocked by Creekmore who found Leonard who gave MSU a four-point lead again with a free throw.
Leonard and Ricks went 4-for-4 at the line in the final 14 seconds, and MSU finished 22-for-29 (.759) at the line for the night.
Kyle Weems had a team-high 21 for MSU, while Creekmore had 13 points and 12 boards. Leonard added 12, while Ricks and Mallett scored 11 each.
MSU had nine turnovers and finished 23-for-49 (.469) from the field field and 5-of-13 (.385) from beyond the arc. The Bears out-rebounded Drake, 33-26, and scored 30 points in the paint.
Drake was led by Wedel with a game-high 21 on six treys, followed by Kurt Alexander with 13 and Ben Simons 12.
The Bulldogs (8-13, 3-7) were 24-of-52 (.462) and 10-for-18 (.556) from three-point range. Drake was also 12-for-18 (.667) at the line and turned the ball over 10 times.
Missouri State returns to JQH Arena Sunday at 7:05 for a nationally-televised game on ESPNU against defending league champion Northern Iowa. Tickets for that game are going quickly and are available at (417) 836-7678 or www.MissouriStateTix.com. The MSU Box Office at JQH Arena will have special hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to accommodate the expected sellout crowd.
In the first half, the Bears made just 5-of-14 field goal attempts in the first 12 minutes of the game, but finished the half making seven of their last 12.
Meanwhile, Drake was red-hot from three-point range, knocking down five treys in the first 12 minutes to build a 26-19 advantage. Wedel had four three-pointers to lead the Bulldogs, while Ben Simmons added another one, and DU finished the half 5-for-8 (.625) from beyond the arc.
After Wedel's final three of the period, Weems brought the Bears back within 26-22 on MSU's first long-range field goal of the night and starting a 14-6 run for the visitors that culminated in a trey by Leonard that gave the Bears a 33-32 advantage with 2:19 to go.
From there, the lead changed hands five times before the intermission with Kurt Alexander hitting a runner off the glass with 38 seconds on the clock for the final score of the opening stanza to give Drake a 38-37 lead at the break.