LINCOLN, Neb –
After 11 straight wins to begin the 2022-23 season, No. 15 Mississippi State suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday. MSU fell 58-52 to Drake as part of the Battle in the Vault event at the University of Nebraska’s Pinnacle Bank Arena.
MSU’s Eric Reed, Jr. scored all of his team-leading 11 points in the game’s first 20 minutes to help State build a 31-23 lead by halftime. The Dawgs then stretched their advantage to 10 points in the early moments of the second half before Drake fought back.
Drake went in front for good on a jumper with 1:51 remaining, breaking a 50-50 tie on the way to a game-closing 8-2 run that knocked State from the ranks of the unbeaten. MSU entered the game as one of only five undefeated teams left in the country.
“Drake had us right where they wanted us,” State head coach Chris Jans said. “They were playing a team that was undefeated with a ranking by their name…They chipped away [at a 10-point deficit] and found a way to make it a one-possession game with three or four minutes left in the game. Then they made the plays down the stretch, and we didn’t.”
The Bulldogs in Maroon and White shot 38.5 percent from the field – more than two percentage points better than Drake’s 36.2. State shot 40.6 percent in the first half to build its early edge.
Key in the opening period was Reed’s long-range shooting. With the score tied at 18, Reed scored the next nine points for MSU on a trio of treys in just over a minute’s time. Suddenly, State was up 27-21 before adding on prior to the intermission.
What Reed was to the MSU offense in the first half, Davis was in the second as he tallied all nine of his points after halftime. A Davis 3-pointer early in the final period helped stretch the State lead to double figures, however it wasn’t enough to fend off Drake.
MSU will attempt to bounce back from the defeat at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 28. That’s when the Dawgs return to action by hosting Alabama in the opener of Southeastern Conference play for both teams.