ST. LOUIS (AP)—Most years, Drake is the school fighting fatigue in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
The 20th-ranked Bulldogs, the top seed after being forced to play in a lead-in game nine of the last 11 seasons, rode the first career double-double from Adam Emmenecker to a 68-46 victory over weary Indiana State in the tournament quarterfinals Friday.
“Usually we’re in that position of playing on little rest,” said Josh Young, who had 11 points. “So we know how it feels. This time, the shoe was on the other foot.”
Emmenecker had 13 points, a career-best 10 rebounds and five assists, and Leonard Houston scored all of his 16 points, including three 3-pointers, in the second half for the Bulldogs (26-4). Drake, the No. 1 seed for the first time in the 32-year history of the tournament, beat eighth-seeded Indiana State (15-16) for the third time and will play Creighton in the semifinals on Saturday.
Drake tied the school record for victories, accomplished the last time by the 1968-69 team that reached the Final Four, and ended an eight-game quarterfinal losing streak.
“Obviously we’ve talked a lot about the firsts we’ve had after the fact,” said first-year coach Keno Davis, who took over after the retirement of his father, Tom Davis. “Those weren’t motivating factors for us.
“Our focus has just been to see how hard we can play.”
Gabe Moore had 12 points for Indiana State, which lost three of its last four. The Sycamores shot a season-worst 25.9 percent and were 5-for-25 from 3-point range. Marico Stinson, who averages 12.3 points, was held to three on 1-for-9 shooting.
“They did a good job of denying the passing lanes,” Moore said. “We also did a terrible job of not attacking the zone as we should have.”
Indiana State beat Wichita State 71-67 in a play-in game on Thursday night.
“I think we were stagnant on offense and didn’t get any movement going like we did in our previous game with them,” coach Kevin McKenna said. “Whether it was from fatigue from the physical game last night, I think that played a part.”
The 6-foot-1 Emmenecker, the Valley player of the year, is one of two former walk-ons for surprising Drake, seeking its first NCAA tournament berth since 1971 and its first postseason opportunity since the 1986 NIT.
“I’m not the biggest guy in the world—rebounds aren’t that big for me,” Emmenecker said. “The other guys boxed out and that let me get a few more than I usually do.
“It was good to contribute that way for a change.”
Jonathan Cox added 12 points and Klayton Korver also had 11, putting all five Drake starters in double figures for the second time in three games.
Drake, which split its last six games of the regular season, went 9-for-23 from 3-point range to increase its school-record total to 275.
Five players contributed to a 17-5 run at the start of the second half, giving Drake a 48-30 lead with just under 12 minutes to play. Indiana State missed eight of its first nine shots after the break.
After grabbing an early 10-2 lead, Drake was unable to put away Indiana State in the first half. Emmenecker had eight points in the half, topping his average of 7.7, and scored off a drive with 2.5 seconds left for a 31-25 lead.