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NCAA First Four: Drake, Texas Southern, Norfolk State advance in tourney

March 18 (UPI) -- The Drake Bulldogs beat the Wichita State Shockers 53-52 Thursday night in the First Four to earn their first NCAA tournament win in a half-century.

Drake's last tournament victory came exactly 50 years ago, when the team defeated Notre Dame on March 18, 1971.

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Joseph Yesufu scored 21 points to lead the Bulldogs past Wichita State. Tremell Murphy added 11 points for 11th-seeded Drake (26-4), which advances to face No. 6 seed USC in the West Region on Saturday.

Morris Udeze notched a career-best 22 points for the Shockers (16-6), who shot 34% from the field. Dexter Dennis chipped in 13 points, while senior guard Alterique Gilbert had 10 points and four assists.

In the opening game of the First Four on Thursday, the Texas Southern Tigers rallied for a 60-52 win over the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers.

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Texas Southern forward John Walker III scored a season-high 19 points and brought down nine rebounds to lead the Tigers to their second NCAA tournament victory ever. The Tigers' win over North Carolina Central in 2018 was the program's first in the tourney.

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Texas Southern (17-8) has now won 10 consecutive games. The 16th-seeded Tigers will play No. 1 seed Michigan (20-4) on Saturday.

With Thursday's loss, the Mountaineers (12-11) fell to 1-9 in tournament play. Mezie Offurum had 10 points and 16 rebounds, and Damian Chong Qui scored a team-best 14 points.

The Texas Southern-Mount St. Mary's matchup was the first NCAA tournament game in almost two years. Last year's tournament was canceled for the first time in its 82-year history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later Thursday, Norfolk State held on to beat Appalachian State 54-53 in the third game of the First Four.

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Spartans blew an 18-point lead in the second half, but Devante Carter's clutch free throws with 8.6 seconds left punched Norfolk State's ticket to the first round of the NCAA tourney.

Norfolk State (17-7) advances to play No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga on Saturday.

Jalen Hawkins scored 24 points in 29 minutes for the Spartans, who earned their first tournament win since upsetting No. 2 seed Missouri in 2012. Joe Bryant Jr. added 10 points and four rebounds.

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Justin Forrest led Appalachian State with 18 points. The Mountaineers (17-12) shot 27% from the field and missed their final 10 attempts.

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