Saturday, February 3, 2018

Bradley Men's Basketball's 14-game home win streak ends against Drake

Bradley's Elijah Childs puts up a free throw late in the first half against Drake. The freshman finished with a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) for the Braves. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB 
Peoria, IL - A season-best 7,793 fans packed Carver Arena Saturday night to see the Bradley Braves (17-8) (7-5) try to extend their 14-game win streak at home against the Drake Bulldogs (13-12) (7-5) on Hall of Fame Night in Peoria.

Two free throws from Darrell Brown out of the gate got things started for Bradley at the 18:11 mark of the first half. Drake would go on a 10-4 run after Brown's free throws, capped by a jumper from Reed Timmer to make it 10-6 Bulldogs with 15:00 to go in the half.

Back and forth things would go for the next while, as no team was able to go on a true run for practically the rest of the half. In fact, Bradley only outscored Drake 27-26 in the last 15 minutes of the first. After 20 minutes, both teams had combined to shoot 26-60 (43.3%), with the Braves shooting 11-29 and the Bulldogs shooting 15-31. It looked like this one was going to stay close, with Drake clinging to a 36-33 lead.

The first half was paced by Timmer for the Bulldogs, who had 15 first half points. That was already good enough to make him Drake's all-time leading scorer, as he needed just 10 points coming into this one. Brown had 13 points for Bradley at the half.

Neither team would budge into the second half. Yet if one team had the edge in the first part of the final half of play, it was Bradley. The Braves were either outscoring Drake or tied for roughly nine minutes out of the halftime locker room. Drake began outscoring the hosts at the 10:57 mark of the half, when Graham Woodward hit a shot from behind the arc to make it 55-50 in favor of the Bulldogs.

For the next 3:40 after Woodward's make, the visitors would go on a 10-4 run, propelling them to a 65-54 lead with just 7:17 to go in the game.

After a 1-2 trip to the line by Drake's Reed Timmer with 2:55 to go, Bradley fans began making their way to the exits, but a majority of the crowd stayed inside Carver Arena, continuing to have faith in their Braves. However, Bradley just wasn't able to come out on top in this one. The final score favored the Bulldogs, 78-68.

After the game, Bradley Head Coach Brian Wardle emphasized one thing that he believes Drake exposed in this one.

"Our inexperience showed today. It flat out showed. We came out, did not execute anything we worked on - not one thing."

On the other side, first-year Drake Head Coach Niko Medved had a lot of praise for his team, citing that they had just come off of an 11-point home loss to Southern Illinois, while also taking time to give credit to Bradley as well.

"These kids showed a lot of character tonight. Bradley's been playing terrific, as everybody knows. For us to come down here and perform the way that we did, and show a lot of tenacity and fight - it was just a huge road win."

One opposing player that was a major factor for Drake was the aforementioned Reed Timmer, who finished the game tying his career-high in points with 32. Medved was very pleased with his effort against the Braves.

"What a phenomenal night for that young man and a phenomenal night for our team."

Brian Wardle also had good things to say about the Bulldogs.

"Give Drake credit. That zone obviously slowed us down in the second half. They sensed we weren't shooting the ball well tonight."

Wardle also went on to talk about how his team's listening needs to get better going forward.

"We just didn't listen very well today. Hopefully that grabs their attention and we can improve."

The third-year head coach of Bradley added that he had told the team "we scored enough to win", but added that "you have to defend. We did not do that tonight."

The game also saw Bradley University induct a new Athletics Hall of Fame class. The Class of 2018 featured the 1968 Men's Tennis team, Women's Basketball alum ('03) Sara Bailey, Men's Basketball alum James Gillingham ('04), Men's Soccer alum ('04) Preston Good, and 3-sport star (Baseball, Basketball, Football - Class of '71) Ernie Pierantoni.

The Braves will travel to Northern Iowa on Wednesday, tipping off from Cedar Falls at 7:00 pm.

Bradley Braves Scorers:
Darrell Brown (20), Donte Thomas (16), Elijah Childs (10), Nate Kennell (9), Koch Bar (8), Jayden Hodgson (3), Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye (2)

Bradley Braves Statistical Leaders:
Field Goals Made | Darrell Brown (6 for 14)
Threes Made | Nate Kennell (3 for 8)
Free Throws Made | Darrell Brown (7 for 8)
Rebounds | Donte Thomas (12)
Assists | Darrell Brown (8)
Blocks | Donte Thomas, Elijah Childs, Ryan Stipanovich, and and Nate Kennell (1 each)
Steals | Darrell Brown (2)

Bradley Braves Team Stats:
Field Goals | 22 for 59 (37.3%)
Threes | 5 for 26 (19.2%)
Free Throws | 19 for 29 (65.5%)
Rebounds | 37
Assists | 13
Turnovers | 9
Blocks | 4
Steals | 6

Next Bradley Braves Men's Basketball Game:
Wednesday, February 7th - 7:00 pm
at Northern Iowa Panthers (11-13) (3-9)
@ McLeod Center - Cedar Falls, Iowa
Web Stream | ESPN3
Radio | 1470/100.3 WMBD (Dave Snell & Chad Kleine)

Twitter Follows:
Bradley Men's Basketball (@bradleyumbb)
Bradley Braves Athletics (@BradleyBraves)
Alex Staab (@StaabAlex)

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