SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — For the first twenty minutes it appeared Missouri State had the recipe to be the first team to beat Drake this season.
But the final second half, Drake proved why it is one of the few unbeatens in the country.
Behind a fierce 15-point comeback in the second half, the Bulldogs beat Missouri State 68-61.
“I just felt we weren’t as aggressive,” Bears head coach Dana Ford said. “Be that rebounding, driving the ball, attacking press, moving the ball, cutting on offense. Our level of intensity and our edge seemed to dull off. You cannot play one half of basketball against a championship caliber team.”
Roman Penn led all scorers with 20 points, including a three to tie it and a layup to give Drake (14-0, 5-0) its first lead of the second half.
Missouri state (9-2, 5-2) raced out to a 14 point lead courtesy a 14-2 run in the first half.
The lead would grow to 17 before settling at a 15 point halftime lead.
Gaige Prim led the Bears with 18 points and 16 rebounds after going for 14-9 in the first half.
Isiaih Mosley and Demarcus Sharp also contributed double digit scoring for the Bears.
Mosley’s streak of 20-point games was snapped at eight games.
The comeback is the 4th largest in Drake’s history.
“We have to focus and finish the game. It wasn’t there tonight,” Sharp said. “The good thing about tonight is, it’s them again. We don’t have to wait weeks and months to play them again. We have them tomorrow.”
The second game of the series is scheduled for 8 pm on Wednesday at JQH Arena.