for this game

Mitchell, Missouri State upset Drake

Feb 27, 2008 - 6:02 AM SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (Ticker) -- Sometimes it only takes one win to save a disappointing season. For Missouri State, that win came against No. 20 Drake.

Deven Mitchell led the way with 20 points and Dale Lamberth scored all 16 of his points in the second half to lead the Bears to an 86-83 victory over the Bulldogs in a Missouri Valley Conference battle on Tuesday.

Justin Fuehrmeyer and Chris Cooks combined for 25 points off the bench for Missouri State (15-15, 7-10 MVC), which shot 60 percent (34-of-57) from the floor and 9-of-15 from the arc.

The Bears advanced to the National Invitation Tournament the past two season, posting more than 20 wins in each campaign. But this season has been a disappointment, and 12 losses in the past 20 games likely will keep the Missouri State players on campus once March rolls around.

But on Tuesday, the Bears' seniors made one final push and earned a marquee win.

"That's probably the best moment of my life," Lamberth told the Des Moines Register. "I've won state championships and things like that, but I've never been part of anything like this."

Mitchell and Lamberth - teammates in the frontcourt for the last season - combined for 17 points in the first 11 1/2 minutes of the second half, sparking a 28-13 run that gave Missouri State a 66-49 lead with 8:27 to play.

"You've got to jump out on (the Bulldogs), because if not, they're going to jump out on you," Lamberth said to the Register. "You can't play catch up with all those shooters they've got."

But Drake (24-4, 14-3), which was coming off a victory over then-No. 8 Butler on Saturday, fought back, cutting the deficit to 70-63 on Jonathan Cox's 3-pointer with 5:59 left.

Klayton Korver hit a pair of free throws with 50 seconds remaining to pull the Bulldogs to within 81-79 but they got no closer.

"I don't know what the problem is right now," Korver told the Register. "We're just not starting games like we need to. We're just not focused when we go out there."

The students stormed the court as the game went final, and Mitchell jumped onto the scorer's table to join in the celebration.

"The fans have been so good to me, I felt like I needed to be so good to them," Mitchell told the newspaper. "I didn't think about it. I just jumped up there."

Missouri State blitzed Drake out of the gate, opening up a 25-13 advantage on Shane Laurie's 3-pointer with 9:44 remaining in the half. Mitchell scored eight points during the spurt and finished the first half with 12 on 5-of-6 shooting.

"They just had more effort than we did," Korver told the newspaper. "They played harder and they deserved to win the game."

But the Bulldogs battled back, ending the first half on a 19-6 run to go into the break down 38-36. Drake hit four 3-pointers in the last 6:29 and Leonard Houston scored the last six points of the half.

Josh Young scored 18 and Cox and Korver added 17 apiece for the Bulldogs, who took 38 shots from the arc, connecting on just 12.

"We showed some resilience being able to battle back after getting so down," Young told the newspaper. "But we're going to have to learn how to stay on top, without falling behind."