Drake men's basketball can't hold off Miami in opening round of NCAA Tournament

ALBANY, N.Y. — Drake men’s basketball dropped its NCAA Tournament first-round matchup against Miami, 63-56, on Friday, marking the third straight tournament appearance where they've been bounced in the Round of 64.

They finished the season with a 27-8 record.

"Incredibly proud of our team's effort tonight," said coach Darian DeVries. "I thought they played their hearts out. Certainly disappointed for our group that we weren't able to pull that out, but I thought overall we played a really, really good 35, 37 minutes, and couldn't quite finish it out."

In a strong defensive start, Drake won the shooting battle. The Bulldogs made 46% of their first half attempts, while Miami made just 7-of-30 and shot 23% from the field. The Hurricanes did have the advantage from beyond the arc, hitting 56% of their 3-point shots.

Drake held a narrow 30-25 lead at halftime.

Miami Hurricanes forward Norchad Omier (15) drives to the net against Drake Bulldogs forward Darnell Brodie (51) in the first half at MVP Arena.
Miami Hurricanes forward Norchad Omier (15) drives to the net against Drake Bulldogs forward Darnell Brodie (51) in the first half at MVP Arena.

Darnell Brodie came out strong for the Bulldogs, and his size advantage helped him muscle his way to 11 points in the first half. All other Drake players were held in the single digits, but Miami was in the same situation.

Isaiah Wong — the ACC Player of the Year —might have been the focus entering the game, but it was two of his teammates who stole the show in the first half. Wong went 0-for-5 to start the game.

More:Q&A with Dolph Pulliam of Drake basketball's 1969 Final Four squad

Nijel Pack went 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and put up a team-high 10 points in the first frame. Wooga Poplar added nine points off of three 3-pointers, and that duo combined for 19 of Miami’s 25 first half points.

It wasn’t until 11:22 in the second half that Wong — who averaged 16.2 points per game entering this matchup — registered his first field goal. He finished with five points and three came from the charity stripe.

"He's a great talent," said Drake guard Roman Penn. "Just trying to make it difficult as much as we can. It's hard against a great player like that, but I think it was a great team effort."

Drake continued to build its lead in the second half, but extended scoreless streaks allowed Miami to come back and take the lead. The game was tied nine times and there were nine lead changes. Bensley Joseph's free throw tied the game at 56 apiece with 2:20 remaining, as Drake went over two minutes without a point.

Pack hit a jumper to give the Hurricanes the lead with under a minute to play. Drake fouled Joseph with 32.5 seconds on the clock, and he hit one of two free throws. Pack and Norchad Omier finished off the game with four more free throws.

Miami finished shooting 30% from the field. Drake went 22-of-55, making 40% of its attempts.

While the Bulldogs limited the Hurricane's conference Player of the Year, Miami did the same to Drake. Tucker DeVries went 1-of-13 from the field. That one field goal was a 3-pointer, but it was too little for Drake to pull out a win.

Brodie scored 20 points and had nine rebounds in the loss.

Alyssa Hertel is the college sports recruiting reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact Alyssa at or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Drake basketball loses to Miami in first round of NCAA Tournament