Missouri State cut a nine-point halftime deficit to six on its first possession of the second half on a three-point play by Wade Knapp, but would not get any closer as Drake used its three-point shooting to seal a 67-49 win over the Bears Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kyle Weems had 13 points and a career-high nine rebounds to lead the Bears who shot 44 percent in the second half and 38.3 percent for the game. Knapp was also in double figures with 11 points and seven boards for the Bears (7-6, 0-2).
Drake, which fell behind 8-2 in the early going, stormed back with a 20-4 run midway through the first half and built an 11-point advantage, 25-15 with 1:19 to go in the first half.
The Bears got a pair of free throws from Knapp just before the half to make it 27-18 at the break. Knapp then collected the three-point play by the senior from Wakeeney, Kan. to start the second half to make it 27-21 before Drake (10-4, 1-1) rolled off 14 of the next 21 points.
A basket by Justin Fuehrmeyer with 13:30 to play brought the Bears back within eight, 41-33, but the Bulldogs and the Knapp Center audience of 6,018 responded with a 14-5 run that proved too much for Cuonzo Martin’s squad to overcome.
Drake was led by Jonathan Cox’s 23 points and 11 rebounds, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, while Josh Young scored 16 and made 5-of-6 from the line.
It was Drake’s biggest win in the series between the two clubs, which Missouri State now leads 29-9. The Bulldogs were 10-for-21 from three-point range (.476) and made good on 20-of-47 (.426) field goals.
The Bears will host Bradley (7-5, 1-0) at JQH Arena in Springfield this Saturday at 7:05 p.m.