Story by Luke Nankivell
Photo by Joel Venzke
The Shockers snapped Drake’s two-game win streak and took its fifth-straight win over the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs had a big push from the bench. Sophomore forward Daddy Ugbede led Drake scorers with 14.
Ugbede’s career-high came on 5-of-8 shooting, and he pulled in a team-high four rebounds.
Redshirt junior guard Jordan Daniels added 13 points from the bench, and senior forward Aaron Hawley led starters with 10 points.
Players coming off the bench outscored starters 30-24.
The Bulldogs struggled right from the opening tip.
It took almost five minutes for Drake to get on the board, but once it did, it got the ball rolling, for a time.
Drake went on a 9-0 run against the Shockers to take a brief lead, but Wichita State again took control of the game.
“They’re going to out-tough you in every facet of the game.”
Usually a strong part of Drake’s game, the three-point shooting for the Bulldogs was dry against WSU.
Drake went 0-6 in the first half, and 3-of-4 in the second. The only players to connect from behind the arc were Daniels and Hawley.
The Shockers closed the first half on a 13-1 run, holding Drake to without a field goal for the last 9:20 of the half. Going into the locker room, WSU led 31-18.
The second half showed Wichita State wanted to pick up where they left off.
Less than four minutes into the half, the Shockers had a 14-1 run to go up 45-19.
“They could outscore you, but they’re going to out-tough defensively on every possession,” Giacoletti said.
“That’s the difference with them and other really good teams.”
After Hawley slowed Drake’s drought with a 3-pointer, it was clear the Shockers would control the game.
Their lead didn’t fall below 21 points for the rest of the game.
Drake shot the ball better in the second half, hitting 54.5 percent from the field, compared to 28.6 percent in the first half.
Despite the shooting performance, the Shockers hit 63 percent of the their shots in the second half and shot 52.5 percent on the night.
The Bulldogs had 20 turnovers in the game, giving Wichita State 31 points off them.
Drake was also beaten on the glass. The Shockers pulled down twice as many offensive boards than the Bulldogs.
“They (box out) so aggressively every possession it wears you out mentally (and) physically,” Giacoletti said. “It’s a matter of who’s going to crack, and we did.”
The loss puts the Bulldogs back at .500 on the season, with a record of 5-11 in Missouri Valley Conference play and 14-14 overall.
Drake currently sits in eighth place in the Valley, a game above Evansville and Loyola.
Drake returns to MVC action Tuesday when it heads to Evansville for its last road game of the regular season.
The Bulldogs return to the Knapp Center on March 1 to play Bradley in their final regular season game.