DES MOINES, Iowa — The Drake University men’s basketball team lost at home for the first time in almost a year, falling to Bradley 83-71 at the Knapp Center on Wednesday night.
Drake shot 37.7 percent from the floor and could not get the stops it needed on the defensive end as the Braves snapped the Bulldogs’ 13-game home winning streak. The Bulldogs had not lost at home since an 81-54 setback to Loyola on Feb. 13, 2021.
Four players scored in double figures and Drake forced 15 turnovers, but that wasn’t enough to offset Bradley’s 59.6 percent shooting (31-for-52), the best by a Bulldog opponent this season.
“Bradley did a great job attacking us and lived in our paint the whole night,” head coach Darian DeVries said. “We had been so good defensively recently. We weren’t quite as gritty and tough on the ball tonight.”
In a fast-paced opening 6 minutes, the lead changed hands five times. Drake led 11-10 after Sturtz converted a three-point play off a jump hook, but Bradley countered with a 3-pointer and basket off a lob and the Bulldogs never led again.
The Braves made 6-of-7 shots during one stretch to open a 25-17 lead, but the Bulldogs still managed to keep it close. They got to within two points, saw the deficit got back to nine then cut it to 40-35 at halftime when DeVries was fouled making a 3 and sank the free throw.
Bradley opened a 10-point lead early in the second half, but the Bulldogs clawed back again, drawing to 53-50 when Murphy buried a 3 from the right wing. That’s as close as it got.
The Braves went on a 7-1 run to get the lead back to nine, then rattled off six straight points for a 68-55 lead that was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
The Bulldogs fell to 13-5 overall and 4-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference and will try to reset at Northern Iowa in a 5 p.m. game on Saturday. Bradley, which had lost four of its previous five, improved to 9-10 and 3-4.
Freshman Tucker DeVries led Drake with 17 points, the 12th time in the last 13 games he has reached double figures. Garrett Sturtz added 15 points and a team-best eight rebounds, Roman Penn scored 14 and D.J. Wilkins 12. Sturtz and Wilkins combined for Drake’s final 16 points, but the Bulldogs never got closer than eight points during that stretch.
Bradley, the youngest team in the Valley, got 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists from season-scoring leader Terry Roberts. Roberts came to Bradley from Florida SouthWestern State, the school that produced Wilkins and teammate Tremell Murphy and ShanQuan Hemphill.
Rienk Mast, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound sophomore, added 17 points for Bradley on 8-for-9 shooting and freshman Connor Hickman scored a career-high 15.