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Yesufu’s 32 leads Drake to triumph

Joseph Yesufu

DES MOINES — Drake sophomore Joseph Yesufu reached a career-high for the second-straight game with 32 points and the Drake men’s basketball team began its final home series of the year with an impressive performance, shooting a season-high 65.4 percent in an 85-71 victory over Evansville at the Knapp Center on Sunday.

The Bulldogs broke it open with an 18-3 run midway through the first half and improved to 22-2 overall and 13-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference, matching the 2007-08 team for the best start in program history. The 22 victories equal the fourth most in school history.

Yesufu connected on a succession of drives, pull-up jumpers and 3-pointers in topping his previous best of 20 points in a victory at Northern Iowa last week. The 6-foot guard made nine-straight shots during one stretch and finished 12-for-14 from the field, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range. The five 3s also are a career best.

Before last Wednesday’s game, Yesufu’s best had been 18 points against UNI at the Knapp Center on Feb. 10. His 32 points are the most by a Drake player this season.

“Joe had a special night,” Drake head coach Darian DeVries said. “That’s one of the best ones I’ve seen for a while. It was fun to see him get in that zone and the guys continue to feed him.”

D.J. Wilkins added 13 points for the Bulldogs on 5-for-6 shooting with a trio of 3-pointers. Tremell Murphy scored nine points and Garrett Sturtz had eight points, six rebounds and three assists. Darnell Brodie also scored eight points while playing only 8 minutes.

“I thought the guys played well offensively tonight,” DeVries said. “The ball really moved and the guys shot it well.”

Starting point guard Roman Penn left the game early in the second half with an injury and did not return. The Bulldogs already had been playing without leading scorer ShanQuan Hemphill, who underwent surgery on Feb. 11 for a fracture in his left foot. Penn’s status will be evaluated by the team’s medical staff Monday.

Shamar Givance led Evansville (8-13, 6-9 MVC) with 19 points, while Evan Kuhlman and Iyen Enaruna each scored 13 for the Purple Aces, who lost their fifth straight.

Drake 85, Evansville 71

EVANSVILLE (8-13) — Kuhlman 5-7 2-2 13, Levitch 0-4 0-0 0, Frederking 2-6 0-0 5, Givance 9-14 0-0 19, Newton 3-9 2-4 8, Curtis 4-6 1-1 11, Enaruna 6-11 1-1 13, Bobe 0-0 0-0 0, Hall 1-1 0-0 2, Matthews 0-0 0-0 0, Straub 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 30-58 6-8 71.

DRAKE (22-2) — Brodie 4-6 0-0 8, Murphy 3-5 1-3 9, Penn 1-3 0-0 3, Sturtz 3-3 2-2 8, Wilkins 5-6 0-0 13, Yesufu 12-14 3-5 32, Samake 3-3 0-0 6, Jackson 0-4 0-0 0, Ferguson 3-3 0-0 6, Burns 0-3 0-0 0, Djamgouz 0-2 0-0 0, Gholson 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 34-52 6-10 85.

Halftime–Drake 47-30. 3-Point Goals–Evansville 5-21 (Curtis 2-4, Kuhlman 1-3, Frederking 1-4, Givance 1-4, Enaruna 0-1, Newton 0-1, Levitch 0-4), Drake 11-21 (Yesufu 5-7, Wilkins 3-4, Murphy 2-3, Penn 1-1, Burns 0-1, Djamgouz 0-1, Jackson 0-4). Rebounds–Evansville 23 (Newton 8), Drake 23 (Sturtz 6). Assists–Evansville 6 (Levitch, Givance 2), Drake 16 (Yesufu 5). Total Fouls–Evansville 6, Drake 11. A–753 (7,152).

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