Drake stormed back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to knock out Wichita State, 53-52, in a First Four thriller between two No. 11 seeds at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana on Thursday .
When sending out the Shockers, the Bulldogs position themselves as Cinderellas in this NCAA tournament. Drake was a bubble team that was one of the last four teams to make their way into the 68 field. The win came a day after coach Darian DeVries signed an eight-year contract extension.
Wichita State’s Dexter Dennis made it a one-point game after a steal and pull-up three-pointer with 8, 1 second remaining time. Joseph Yesufu, who aggressively drove Drake’s attack on 19 points, missed a free throw by six seconds to keep the door open for a Wichita State buzzer beater. But Alterique Gilbert missed a potential game-winning three-pointer as time ran out.
The Bulldogs (26-4) stayed behind for most of the game, taking the lead at 4 for the first time since the opening minutes of the game : 16 left – from a Darnelle Brodie bucket.
Morris Udeze went up and down offensively with 22 points. Wichita State had an adversarial season in which it broke up with longtime coach Gregg Marshall for alleged physical and emotional abuse prior to the season. Coach Isaac Brown took over and led WSU to a regular season title at the American Athletic Conference.
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