Shockers fall to Drake in Valley opener

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WICHITA, Kan. -- Drake used the 3-point line and free-throw line to beat Wichita State 62-54 Saturday night at Koch Arena in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams.

Drake (10-1, 1-0 Valley) opened its biggest lead on second-half 3-pointers and sealed the victory by making five of its seven free throws in the final minute. The Bulldogs' Josh Young led all scorers with 17 points.

Meanwhile, Wichita State struggled mightily in both areas. The Shockers were 3 of 21 from the 3-point line and 9 of 24 on free throws, including missing 11 of their first 14. J.T. Durley came off the WSU bench for a team-high 13 points.

Young helped push a five-point Drake lead at halftime to eight with a 3-point play that made it 35-27 with 18:10 remaining.

But the Shockers answered with nine straight points, capped by Durley's 3-pointer. The arc was more of a threat for the Bulldogs, though. Jonathan Cox hit three 3-pointers and Klayton Korver added another in a 14-5 Drake run that gave the Bulldogs a 53-44 lead with 9:08 remaining.

Cox finished with 15 points. Drake was 8 of 21 from the 3-point line.

WSU still trailed by seven with 90 seconds to play but tried to rally. Phil Thomasson hit a put-back and Matt Braeuer rattled in an 8-foot runner to pull the Shockers within three. But Gal Mekel could not handle an inbounds pass with 35 seconds remaining, and the Bulldogs finished it off from there.

Drake led for most of the first half, but a 6-0 Shockers run gave WSU a 23-20 lead with 7:06 to play before halftime. Wichita State did not score again until there were less than 15 seconds remaining in the half, and Drake used that strong defense to lead 30-25 at the break.

Young led all scorers with 11 first-half points.

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