WEST LAYFETTE, Ind. (KSNW) – Drake eliminates Wichita State from the NCAA Tournament with a 53-52 win in the First Four round of the West Region Thursday night in West Lafayette.
The Shockers led 21-20 at halftime but Drake surged in the second half outscoring Wichita State 33-31 in the one-point win.
Wichita State had a chance to win at the buzzer but Alterique Gilbert settled for a long 3-pointer that hit the front rim.
Wichita State was led by junior forward Morris Udeze’s career high 22 points.
“I went to the locker room and I didn’t even talk about the game,” coach Isaac Brown said. “I said, ‘Man, I’m so proud of you guys. You guys were picked seventh. You won the AAC.’ … Great effort. We just didn’t get it done tonight.”
It was the 152nd meeting between the former Missouri Valley Conference rivals. Wichita State left for the American Athletic Conference in 2017. Both mid-major powers were given at-large bids into the NCAA field, and their matchup was dominated by defense — Drake shot 38% while Wichita State shot 34%.
With the win, Drake advance to play USC on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Drake’s last tournament victory had been 50 years ago to the day —- March 18, 1971, against Notre Dame.