STORY BY MICHAEL WENDLANDT
In St. Louis on Thursday night, the Drake Men’s Basketball season came to an end as they fell to Bradley in overtime, 52-50.
This was the first Bulldogs loss to the Braves this season, taking them down twice in the regular season. The loss also deprives the Bulldogs of a chance to take on the Northern Iowa Panthers in the next round.
Sophomore Jacob Enevold Jensen led the way with another impressive game, scoring a career high 24 points, pulling down 12 rebounds and blocking four shots. The seven-foot center also went 14-14 from the free throw line, helping the Bulldogs stay competitive in the game.
“I just felt I had it today,” Jensen said after the game. “I was at ease and that’s when I’m at my best.”
The game was a back and forth affair the entire night as Drake got up early on a three from senior Gary Ricks Jr. A slow first half ended with a score of only 21-17 with Bradley in front, and neither team led by more than seven at any one point as the two teams traded baskets the whole way.
Drake was able to come back in the second half as senior Karl Madison dished out a total of six assists throughout the game and Jensen continued to control the paint. The Bulldogs pulled ahead late, but a three from Bradley junior Warren Jones tied the game with 1:20 left to play. Two consecutive blocks on potential game winning shots from Jensen gave the Bulldogs a chance at victory, but they were unable to get a shot off in time.
The overtime period started slowly, just as the game had, with neither team scoring for the first two minutes before a three from Auston Barnes gave Bradley the lead.
“He broke our press and hit the shot,” coach Ray Giacoletti said.
Drake came back and tied it behind a drive from Chris Caird and a free throw from Trevor Berkeley.
A foul called on Ricks with just over two seconds left gave Bradley a chance at a lead from the free throw line.
“The way I saw it, Gary was trying to jump into the passing lane,” Giacoletti said. “He somehow got his hands on Sutherland’s wrist or something. He was doing the correct thing.”
Tramique Sutherland buried both free throws with 2.7 seconds remaining. Drake had one chance to win it, but their half-court shot was off and the season was over. The Bulldogs end the season with a record of 9-22, but improved dramatically during conference play, finishing seventh in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“From where we were at over Christmas, this is two different teams,” Giacoletti said. “I just feel bad for the guys in our locker room who aren’t able to play another game.”
Northern Iowa defeated Illinois State in the conference championship on Sunday 69-60 to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship Tournament.
However, the biggest story to come out of Arch Madness was the fourth seed Illinois State upsetting first seed Wichita State in the semi-final round.
This was also the last game for seniors Trevor Berkeley, Chris Caird, Karl Madison and Gary Ricks Jr. as Bulldogs.