Cox scores 21 as Drake pushes streak to 21Feb 10, 2008 - 7:15 AM DES MOINES, Iowa (Ticker) -- In a rare display of first-half dominance, 15th-ranked Drake finally made it easy on itself.
Josh Young scored nine of his 13 points in the first half as the Bulldogs jumped out to a big lead and held on for a 73-65 victory over Evansville on Saturday in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup.
Jonathan Cox scored a season-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Leonard Houston added 15 for Drake (22-1, 13-0 MVC), which pushed its winning streak to 21 games and remained undefeated in conference play.
"It's unbelievable," Houston told the Des Moines Register. "The whole time I've been here, we've been at the bottom, and we've been the ones struggling.
"Now that we're on top, it's just unreal."
Winning had not been coming easily of late for the Bulldogs, who trailed at the half in five of their last seven victories entering Saturday. They still have not beaten an opponent by more than 10 points since a 65-54 victory over Missouri State on January 12.
"I've thought about it, just because I get asked about it a lot," Drake coach Keno Davis said to the newspaper. "I think every time we win a game this year, we're setting some kind of record or it's the first time for something."
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first nine minutes of the game, knocking down seven of their first 11 shots from the floor. Cox led the charge with seven points and Young added five during the spurt.
Houston and Young combined for 10 points over the final 7:11 of the opening half to ensure Drake a comfortable, 33-24 lead at the break.
"They really stretch you out," Evansville coach Marty Simmons told the newspaper. "And they're good and aggressive off the dribble. They're a very unselfish team and they caused us problems all night long."
Shy Ely pulled the Purple Aces to within 44-38 on a jumper with 14:45 left in the contest, but the Bulldogs would not be denied.
Cox scored 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, during a 15-2 run that pushed the lead to 59-40 with 11:14 remaining.
"A couple of those shots he hit, we had guys draped all over him," Simmons told the newspaper about Cox. "They have an outstanding team. It's not a surprise they're being as successful as they are."
Darin Granger's 3-pointer with 6:00 to play trimmed the lead down to 61-53, but Drake made 10-of-12 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Evansville (7-16, 2-11) shot 55 percent (27-of-49) in the setback, but sent Butler to the line 24 times - resulting in 20 points.
Ely finished with 18 points to lead the Purple Aces, who have lost 11 of their last 13 games.
Drake will put its winning streak on the line again at Southern Illinois on Wednesday.
"We've got to win at the toughest place to win in the country," Bulldogs guard Klayton Korver told the newspaper about Southern Illinois. "If we won there, that would be special."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
EVANSVILLE 24 41 65
DRAKE (15) 33 40 73 FINAL
Feb 9 10:12 PM
- NCAA BB
(15) DRAKE 33 HALFTIME
Feb 9 8:57 PM
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