No. 20 Drake Wins Missouri Valley Title

Emmenecker gets MVP honors as Bulldogs head to the Big Dance
By Mike Buss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2008 6:15 PM CDT
Members of the Drake basketball team celebrate after beating Illinois State for the Missouri Valley conference tournament championship on Sunday, March 9, 2008 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Drake clinched its first NCAA tournament berth since 1971 with a 79-49 win over Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Championship game. Former walk-on Adam Emmenecker padded his conference player of the year status with 16 points and six assists to garner tournament MVP honors as well. The No. 20 Bulldogs shot 56% while improving to 28-4, writes the AP.

A 22-2 run to close out the first half sealed the deal for Drake, as Illinois State was unable to muster any sort of second-half comeback. Jonathan Cox added 20 points, as the Bulldogs completed a sweep of the MVC regular season and tourney titles. As for making the Big Dance, Emmenecker said, "this is the big deal."