As Missouri State and Drake matched 3-point shooting, the visiting Bears blinked first. “Just missing open baskets, which happens, and we couldn’t get stops on the defensive end,” Missouri State guard Austin Ruder said. “Kind of a bad combination.” Certainly a losing combination Wednesday night as Drake finished with aplomb for an 84-74 victory in front of 3,290 fans at Knapp Center. The Bears (14-7 overall, 4-5 Missouri Valley Conference) went six minutes without a field goal after taking a five-point lead with seven minutes remaining. It was all Bulldogs from there. Missouri State hits the halfway point of the Valley race in a three-way tie for fourth place. Guards Richard Carter and Jordan Daniels combined for 15 points as Drake (12-9, 3-6) finished on a 25-10 run. Carter finished with 23 points and a career-high 11 assists, with Daniels scoring 22. Daniels had five 3-pointers as the Bulldogs — the league’s top 3-point team by percentage — buried 14 of 24 from long range. It was more than enough to trump Ruder’s career-high 21 points. The freshman guard made six of nine 3-pointers as the Bears were 11 of 22 from behind the arc. Offense — the late scoreless streak notwithstanding — wasn’t the major issue. Defense and rebounding were glaring weaknesses as Drake shot 52 percent overall and clobbered the Bears 34-16 on the boards. “We had our opportunities. We simply couldn’t get a rebound,” Missouri State coach Paul Lusk said. Guard Dorrian Williams led the Bears with six rebounds and nobody else had more than three. Jarmar Gulley, after a pair of point-rebound double-doubles last week, was held to one rebound. “It’s frustrating because we did a lot of good things,” Lusk said. “We scored it. We shot it. We shot a good percentage. We made our free throws. We didn’t turn it over.” As for everything else? Lusk didn’t sugarcoat it. “We’re not very good on the defensive end and we’re not very good rebounding,” he said. Drake broke a seven-game losing streak to Missouri State and beat Lusk for the first time in five games as Bears’ coach.
Late push sends Drake past Bears
Springfield News-Leader | Jan 30