The top four teams in the Missouri Valley Conference changed places a few times, but for most of the season, the schools in those top positions remained the same.
There’s Drake, No. 4 after Wednesday’s game, Missouri State (3rd), Loyola Chicago (2nd) and Northern Iowa (1st). Drake has faced all three of these teams over the past 11 days.
Wednesday’s Drake-Missouri State game at the Knapp Center was a battle for rankings positioning.
The Bears emerged victorious, staging a late comeback to beat Drake 66-62. It was the Bulldogs’ second consecutive loss at home, having lost Saturday’s game to UNI. Drake fell to 17-8 and 8-4 in conference play.
A rocky start for Drake’s men’s basketball
The Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run to start the game, holding Missouri State scoreless for more than four minutes. It’s not a bad start, except that Drake didn’t take advantage of this moment.
Over the next four minutes, the Bulldogs scored just two runs — off a Darnell Brodie jumper — while the Bears scored eight unanswered. Missouri State tied the game at 10 apiece, then went score for score with the Bulldogs. Drake never closed the lead to eight points, and the Bears took their first lead with 5:22 left in the first.
Roman Penn is Drake’s new all-time assists leader
Roman Penn entered Wednesday’s game just two assists shy of Drake’s all-time record. The record of 384 by Glenn Martin stood since 1988.
Penn broke that record in the first half against Missouri State. He notched assists on two shots from Brodie, with the record assist at 16:41 and the record assist just over two minutes later.
He moved up to second on Saturday when he had three assists against UNI for 383. Penn’s 192 assists in his first season with the Bulldogs still ranks second in single-season assists. Penn played his first season in Siena.
“Roman was terrific,” Drake’s trainer Darian DeVries said after Wednesday’s game. “He is so important to us. He’s such a big chunk of our program, where we’ve been and where we hope we’re heading. It’s an incredible accomplishment for him and I think it says a lot about his selflessness.
Missouri State’s Isiaih Mosley is a problem for opponents
Mosley has dropped 40 or more points in two games this season for Missouri State. Although he didn’t make it against Drake on Wednesday, there were glimpses of his importance to the Bears.
He leads the Valley with 20.7 points per game, which is good enough to place him 14th among all NCAA players. Mosley finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Bulldogs.
“He’s so hard to guard because he can score some shots when you do a good job,” DeVries said. “He has many ways to score. … He just makes it very difficult for someone to try and stop him and I think our guys did a good job for the most part.
In attack as in defense, he is relentless. Expect Mosley to grab a rebound on his own shot, then sprint down the field to take on one of Drake’s best shooters. He’s a solid all-around presence on the court and definitely helps the Bears out of some tight spots.
Mosley is already a mainstay of the MVC’s Player of the Week awards. Look for him to propel this Missouri State team to late-season success, and he’ll be a player to watch come tournament time.