RECAP: Drake tops Wichita State, nets first NCAA Tourney win in 50 years

Mar 18, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wichita State Shockers guard Dexter Dennis (0) defends against Drake Bulldogs forward Tremell Murphy (2) in the first half during the First Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph Yesufu poured in 21 points Thursday as Drake rallied from a frosty first half to upend Wichita State 53-52 in a clash of No. 11 seeds in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament at West Lafayette, Ind.

The Bulldogs (26-4) overcame 37.7 percent shooting that included a 10-minute scoring drought in the first half to claim their first NCAA Tournament victory in 50 years to the day. They posted a 79-72 overtime win over Notre Dame on March 18, 1971.

They also ended an 11-game losing streak against Wichita State, a former Missouri Valley rival that left for the American Athletic Conference four years ago.

Morris Udeze scored a career-high 22 points to pace Wichita State, but the Shockers (16-6) could not get their top threat untracked. Tyson Etienne, the co-player of the year in the AAC, netted just 1 point on 0-for-6 shooting from the field. The Shockers shot just 33.9 percent from the floor.

The Bulldogs gained their first lead, 46-45, since the opening stages on a bucket by Darnell Brodie with 4:15 left. They led the remainder of the game, though Dexter Dennis (13 points) made it interesting with a steal and 3-pointer for the Shockers with 8.1 seconds left.

Yesufu then missed a front-end free throw, but Alterique Gilbert hit the front iron on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Tremell Murphy added 11 points for Drake, which closed the first half with a 10-0 run to pull within 21-20 at the break. Yesufu scored seven points, all in the final 3:02, to key the late surge.

The Bulldogs made their first attempt but then missed 13 straight shots and went 10 minutes without a field goal before Brodie connected at the 6:30 mark.

Wichita State enjoyed a 16-1 flurry and built a 12-point margin while Drake went ice cold, but the Shockers did not score in the final five minutes of the half while shooting 28.1 percent. Udeze scored nine first-half points to pace Wichita State, though Etienne went 0-for-4.

Drake’s Shanquan Hemphill played for the first time since Feb. 10, returning from a broken foot.

–Field Level Media