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Southern Utah outlasts Drake in CIT showdown

Noah Thomas

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Despite a valiant effort from a depleted roster, the Drake men’s basketball season came to an end Friday in an 80-73 overtime loss at Southern Utah in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

The loss ended the Bulldogs’ historic season with 24 wins, the third-most in program history, and a share of the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title.

Noah Thomas led Drake with 19 points. Tremell and Anthony Murphy both notched double-doubles as Anthony posted 13 points and 10 boards while Tremell had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Liam Robbins also added 14 points in a starting role.

The Bulldogs faced an 11-rebound deficit as the Thunderbirds’ Harrison Butler posted 21 points and 11 rebounds.

“I thought they left it out there,” Drake head coach Darian DeVries, the MVC Coach of the Year, said of his squad. “We weren’t great in the first half and we challenged them to leave it all on the court.”

Drake rolled out to an early lead before a 10-0 Southern Utah run pushed the Thunderbirds ahead 27-23 at the half.

The Bulldogs responded following the break and used a 10-0 run that featured eight points from the Murphy twins to give Drake a 63-52 lead with less than eight minutes remaining.

That momentum was shortlived as Southern Utah slowed down the Bulldogs with a press, outscoring Drake 16-2 over the next seven minutes.

“For the first 15 minutes [of the second half] we were great and then they slapped the press on and it caught us by surprise,” DeVries said.

Drake’s Brady Ellingson hit a pair of free throws with two seconds left to force the extra period, but the Bulldogs scored just two points in the overtime period.

“They just kept fighting,” DeVries said. “We couldn’t get that one last bucket, but I’m proud of these guys and what they’re about. Tonight was no different.”

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