Missouri State basketball is in the second round of Arch Madness, and the Bears have to face No. 2 seed Drake Saturday afternoon at 3:05 p.m.
Drake was supposed to play Northern Iowa on Friday, but contract tracing due to a positive COVID-19 test in UNI’s program caused the Panthers to withdraw from the tournament.
Missouri State hosted Drake on Jan. 26 and 27. MSU came into that series looking to knock off then-undefeated Drake, and looked poised to do it. At the end of the first half of the first game, the Bears were leading by 15 points and were shutting down Drake.
Then the second half happened.
The Bears blew that lead and ended up losing 68-61. The next night Missouri State came out flat, and while a second-half comeback gave the Bears a brief lead, Drake won 78-73.
Drake ran into a bad stretch of injuries a few weeks after it played MSU. First team All-MVC guard Roman Penn had a season-ending surgery on his foot. Then MVC Newcomer team member ShanQuan Hemphill suffered a foot injury of his own shortly after.
Drake head coach Darian DeVries has said several times in the past week that Hemphill could come back, but he was not ready to play in Drake’s canceled game against UNI.
Drake lost a game to shorthanded Bradley in the final game of the regular season when the Braves only had six scholarship players due to legal and injury trouble.
Missouri State comes into the game completely healthy. The only injured Bear is junior center Dawson Carper, who has not played since early January.
Drake’s leaders now
The Bulldogs still have an impact player in the post in the form of 6-foot-10-inch center Darnell Brodie. Brodie is a strong player who will be tasked with guarding Bears forward Gaige Prim, who finished third in the MVC regular season scoring race.
Drake also has the presence of Joseph Yesufu, who was a bench player most of the year and averages 11.6 points per game. Yesufu was named to the MVC All-Bench team, but he is likely to start in the absence of Penn.
What Dana Ford says the Bears need to do to win
Ford said in his postgame press conference after beating Valparaiso he needs his entire roster to contribute to win.
During the defeat of Valparaiso, sophomore guard Isiah Mosley scored 29 points, Prim scored 11, junior guards Jared Ridder and Keaton Hervey scored nine and eight respectively and sophomore guard Ja’Monta Black scored seven.
“When you look at Prim, Mosley and Black, this was their third game at Arch Madness,” Ford said. “It was Ridder’s fourth. Those are the guys that need to do it. You can’t anticipate the guys that have never been here to understand what it takes.”
Tip-off and how to watch
The Bears play Drake Saturday, March 6 at 3 p.m. at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, and radio broadcasts can be found on the Bears Radio Network and an MVC broadcast will be on 550 AM in St. Louis.
Follow Stephen Terrill on Twitter, @stevethe2nd
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