By: Sammy Stava
No. 2 seed Drake took on No. 3 Missouri State in the second game of Arch Madness Semifinal Saturday. The winner advancing to Championship Sunday for a date with No. 1 seed Loyola with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
On the bubble for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, Drake advanced on Friday night due to the cancellation of their game against Northern Iowa in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs weren’t credited with a win for that one to boost their NCAA Tournament resume, but a shorthanded team got some much needed rest heading into the semifinal against a Missouri State team with plenty of momentum.
There was some high-level basketball and shot making going on at the Enterprise Center on Saturday afternoon, setting up to be the best game at Arch Madness so far.
Drake had a 40-37 lead at the half, and this one went down to the wire in the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs showed why they are worthy of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid, as they closed it out.
No Roman Penn. No ShanQuan Hemphill. No problem for Drake. With 2.5 seconds remaining, sophomore guard Joeseph Yesufu scored the game-winning layup, giving the Bulldogs a thrilling 71-69 victory as the clock hit zeroes. Making his case for player of the game, Yesufu delivered with 25 points on the night.
Improving to 25-3 on the season, Drake has advanced to their first MVC Championship Game since 2008.
And it’s the MVC Championship Game we all wanted. The No. 1 seed vs the No. 2 seed – the way it should be. It’ll be the rubber game of the season between Loyola and Drake. These two teams are certainly deserving of an at-large, but who will get the automatic bid?
The Arch Madness Championship Game comes your way at 1:00 on Sunday on The Big 550 KTRS.