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It’s been six years since Drake caught the nation’s attention with a stunning surge to the Valley championship, the program’s first in 37 seasons, and it’s been a struggle for the Bulldogs to return to that level.

Drake started the season 10-3 and whipped Evansville 94-66 in its league opener before succumbing to the heart of its Valley schedule.

But the Bulldogs did their best to push the Shockers early.

They hit nine of their first 16 shots to stay as close as 30-26. But Baker found Cotton for a left-handed alley-oop that sent Wichita State into the break with a 37-29 lead.

Cotton then opened the second half with another dunk and the Shockers were on their way to their eighth road win.

“We weren’t playing great defense in the first half, they were just missing shots,” Caird said. “They turned it around in the second half. They started making shots and I think they fed off that.”