DES MOINES — Much of Saturday's loss will remain unexplainable for Wichita State. The Shockers coughed up at least part of their gains from Tuesday's win over No. 20 Northern Iowa, losing to a Drake team it held to 38 points on Jan. 1.
Forget the whys of the 78-64 loss to Drake at the Knapp Center — guard Clevin Hannah knows it can't happen again. Given a chance to move within a half-game of first-place UNI, the Shockers showed from the start they weren't really interested.
"We're supposed to capitalize on that, and don't go backwards," Hannah said. "We took one step forward and two back."
How much of a step back has yet to be determined in coach Gregg Marshall's mind. The Shockers (17-4, 6-3 MVC) lost their second straight on the road. A week ago, fouls took the Shockers out of their game at Creighton almost before it started. Saturday, the Shockers can't blame anybody other than themselves. They couldn't guard Drake's shooters or drivers, and defending ball screens seemed to mystify them. On offense, WSU turned the ball over 20 times and missed 20 of 29 three-pointers.
"They were as good as we were bad," Marshall said. "I hope it's just one game. I hope it's not a trend. If it is, we're going to get waxed in the next couple weeks."
Drake (10-11, 5-4 MVC) did just what it has done during its five-game win streak. It built a big lead in the first half — 16 points with 8:21 to play. WSU trailed 7-3 with 16:15 to play and didn't score again until 9:59 remained in the first half and Drake led 16-5.
"By the time we woke up, it was too late," Marshall said.
The Shockers cut the lead to seven in the first half. They cut it to eight early in the second half and twice worked to within five in the final five minutes. Each time, however, Drake answered with a three or a layup or by forcing a turnover. WSU's best chance at a rally ended when Toure Murry was called for an offensive foul driving in the lane with his team down 66-60 with 2:08 to play.
The Shockers emerged from a first-half offensive funk. They could never string together enough stops to put pressure on Drake. The Bulldogs made 4 of 6 threes in the second half and 10 of 20 shots. They made 18 of 22 free throws in the second half and outscored WSU 27-11 at the line for the game.
That's the same Drake offense that shot 35.2 percent and scored one point in the final eight minutes of a 61-38 loss at Koch Arena.
Actually, it's not the same at all. The Bulldogs drove to the basket for layups or shot three-pointers with ease in the rematch. Guard Josh Young scored 20 points, 11 at the line. Center Seth VanDeest added 17. Sophomore Frank Wiseler, starting his fourth game, handed out 12 assists.
"We can play some basketball," Young said. "Offensively, we've been able to spread the floor a lot more and get a lot of penetration and kick. We've got shooters all over the floor."
WSU's offense never got rolling against Drake's zone. Graham Hatch missed 6 of 7 threes. J.T. Durley scored 16 points on 13 shots. Hannah led WSU with 19 points, 13 in the second half. Toure Murry made 6 of 8 shots and scored 15.
"We didn't shoot it well at all," WSU guard David Kyles said. "If you pass it around long enough, you'll get a good shot. We took a lot of quick ones."