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Undefeated Wichita States beats Drake, 83-54

Courtesy: Drake Athletics –

WICHITA, Kan. – The No. 3 Wichita State used big runs to bookend halftime in cruising past the Drake University men’s basketball team, 83-54, on Saturday evening at Charles Koch Arena.

Drake (14-14, 5-11 MVC) was led by Daddy Ugbede’s (Gardena, Calif.) career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting with a team-high four rebounds. Jordan Daniels (Fontana, Calif.) added 13 points and Aaron Hawley (Rogers, Ark.) chipped in with 10. However, those sharpshooters, who helped Drake come into the game as the Missouri Valley Conference’s top three-point shooting team were held to just three three-pointers on 10 attempts.

Wichita State (29-0, 16-0 MVC) remained the nation’s lone undefeated team thanks to a career-high 21 points from Tekele Cotton and 31 points off of turnovers as the Shockers’ active defense forced 20 Drake errors with seven of them coming via steals by Cotton.

“That team is different because they’re not going to outscore you, they’re going to out-tough you in every facet of the game,” Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti said of Wichita State. “They could outscore you, but they’re going to out-tough defensively on every possession. That’s the difference with them and other really good teams.”

The Shockers opened the game with a 7-0 rally and extended that lead to a 14-6 advantage before the Bulldogs, keyed by five points from Hawley, assembled a 9-0 run to briefly lead 15-14 with 9:20 left in the first half. During that charge that lasted more than three minutes, the Bulldog defense forced three turnovers and only allowed WSU to reel off three shots.

However, that brief shot of momentum was quickly reversed as the Shockers’ defense clamped down and held the Bulldogs without a field goal for the final 9:20 of the half and closed first-half action on a 13-1 run to carry a 31-18 advantage into the locker room. Van Vleet scored eight of his 15 points on the night in the first half, including five during that rally to close the half.

Halftime did little to slow the Shockers’ momentum as they opened the second half on a 14-1 run to take a 45-19 lead less than four minutes into the period. Drake’s field goal drought finally ended with a Hawley three-pointer, however the Shockers’ lead would stay at 21 or larger for the remainder of the contest.

Drake’s offense was hamstrung all evening by turnovers, especially in the start of the second half with six turnovers in the first 4:09 of the half to fuel Wichita State’s big run. Rebounding also stymied the Bulldogs and extended multiple WSU possessions in the second half as the Shockers held a 7-rebound advantage on the night and a 14-7 margin on the offensive glass.

“You physically cannot box them out and they do it so aggressively every possession it wears you out mentally and physically,” Giacoletti said of the Shockers’ tenacity on the glass. “It’s a matter of who’s going to crack and we did.”

The loss snapped the Bulldogs’ two-game win streak and was their fifth-straight loss to the Shockers. Drake will attempt to climb back above .500 on Tuesday evening with its final road game of the season at Evansville. Tipoff at the Ford Center is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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