Drake and Wichita State played for the 150th time on Wednesday and did nothing to remind anyone of the best days of that Missouri Valley Conference rivalry.
Yes, the series did create a few highlights and heated moments, for those with long memories.
The Shockers and Bulldogs met in 1964 in a playoff to decide the MVC title and NCAA Tournament berth. In 1976, WSU clinched the MVC title in Des Moines. Drake’s Lewis Lloyd made games worth watching in the early 1980s. The final moments of a Bulldogs win in 2007 so frustrated then-WSU coach Mark Turgeon he kicked his way out of the Knapp Center.
WSU dominated the series and the historical gap is never wider than it is now. The Shockers routed the Bulldogs 90-65 at Koch Arena to win their 10th straight game over the Bulldogs.
The first half unfolded exactly the way the Shockers wanted —a big early lead robbed the Bulldogs of any hope.
“We try to put that pressure on early, let them know this is our house,” WSU forward Markis McDuffie said.
The second half provided evidence of human nature. The Shockers faded into a back-and-forth game and committed nine turnovers.
“We kind of coasted in the second half,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said.
While the second 20 minutes disturbed Marshall’s perfectionist nature, it didn’t do much to change WSU’s rush to take charge of the MVC race again. The Shockers, even in a year of transition, haven’t given MVC opponents much reason to doubt them. They are unbeaten (3-0) in the MVC and headed to Northern Iowa, 0-3 in the MVC, on Sunday.
Daishon Smith and Shaq Morris led WSU (13-3, 3-0) with 13 points each. McDuffie added 10 points and also grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds to record his first double-double. Landry Shamet scored 11 points, on 5-of-8 shooting, and handed out five assists without a turnover.
The Shockers out-rebounded Drake 54-28, 18-5 on the offensive glass to score 26 second-chance points.
“For us to give up 50 points in the first half and lose the hustle plays while shooting 26 percent, that’s not a good recipe,” Drake interim coach Jeff Rutter said. “We just weren’t knocking down shots and we can’t be defined by whether we make or miss shots.”
De’Antae McMurray led the Bulldogs (3-12, 1-2) with 13 points. Reed Timmer added 11 points on 2-of-8 shooting. Drake shot 38 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers, leading to 22 Shocker points.
“We were very active and aggressive,” Marshall said. “But we gave up 44 (points) in the second half. That’s not very good. We weren’t as intense. We weren’t as defensive-minded.”
WSU encountered little resistance from the Bulldogs on any front on their way to a 30-point halftime lead, its fourth-largest in a game dating to 1976. WSU scored 30 of its 51 points in the lane, made 21 of 43 shots and forced seven turnovers.
“That sets the tone early,” Smith said. “It lets the guys on the bench know you’re coming to play. This is our game from the jump, let’s not play around.”
The Shockers led 8-0, 20-5 and 46-14 before Drake closed the half with a 7-5 run.
The Bulldogs, who didn’t take a shot in the lane until McMurray’s bank shot with 16:04 remaining in the half, missed 26 of 35 shot and 14 of 17 three-pointers. That avalanche of missed shots allowed WSU to grab 36 first-half rebounds, more than it had in six previous games.
Drake refused to let the Shockers expand the lead in the second half. Marshall substituted frequently and spent a lot of time looking at the scoreboard, no doubt wishing for a running clock and a quick, injury-free, resolution to the rout.
“They’re down 30, so they should come out hard,” McDuffie said. “I’m guessing the coach got on them. It showed out there. They started to make shots.”