Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Bradley men suffer 18-point loss to UNI

Head Coach Brian Wardle speaks to the media following Bradley's 65-47 loss to Northern Iowa.
PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Peoria, Ill. - The Bradley men (8-6) (0-1) had capped off the non-conference slate of games with a thrilling, buzzer-beating win over Southeastern Louisiana.

The Missouri Valley Conference schedule would start with the Northern Iowa Panthers (6-8) (1-0). On paper, it seems like it would be a moderately close game, even favoring Bradley by a slight margin.

To start, it seemed like no team was going to break. For a fairly long stretch of the first half, the largest lead was all of two points. Then, at the time, ever so slowly, momentum creeped towards Northern Iowa. Head Coach Brian Wardle attributes that to a loss of composure, among other things.

"I thought we just lost our composure in the first half. When it was 17-17, we struggled to score, missing some shots that we had. We weren't smart defensively. Left a couple of shooters again."

Then came the UNI offense. A jumper by Bradley's Luuk van Bree set the score at 24-22 in favor of the Panthers, but the visitors answered and answered well.

Consecutive three pointers from Trae Berhow and Spencer Haldeman put the Panthers up eight. A jumper from Isaiah Brown gave Northern Iowa what was, at that point, the largest lead of the game at 12 points.

Bradley would need to turn it around in the second half to prevent a home loss to start conference play.

Looking at the halftime box score, two key players for the Braves had yet to score. Darrell Brown and Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye. Wardle believes that Northern Iowa had Brown scouted well, but says the whole team needs to improve.

"They did a good job on Darrell. We just got to play harder, tougher, and smarter."

No turnaround happened. The lead got up to 15 when the Berhow's layup made it 41-26 roughly three minutes into the second half.

The Braves were able to get the game within 11 points when Koch Bar threw down a dunk, but that would turn out to be the closest Bradley would get.

An AJ Green jumper would increase the Northern Iowa lead to 19, and Bradley would subsequently call a timeout, as fans began to file out of Carver Arena.

Bradley could not seem to get many shots to fall, and quite a few were falling for the visiting Panthers, contrary to how the game started.

The game had stayed within 20 points, that being until UNI's Isaiah Brown hit a trey to make it 65-45 with just over a minute to go.

Bradley responded with a layup from Peoria Notre Dame alum Peter Hanley, who got a nice round of applause upon making the shot, but that would cap the scoring for the night. Bradley would drop the game to Northern Iowa, 65-47.

As to what it will take for the Braves to regroup, Wardle says it's "between the ears", adding "that's going to be big with this team if we want to get back to where we can be".

The energy is something that Wardle discussed. In fact, he said that the practice energy had been great. The energy in the game was not as great.

"I thought we practiced really well, really competitive. I thought our energy level was better in practice than it was in the game today."

Luuk van Bree said after the game that one emotion sticks out, keeping it simple as well.

"It's extremely frustrating."

Metamora alum Nate Kennell was certainly a bright spot for the Braves, scoring 11 points on three makes from behind the arc, while Kansas City native Elijah Childs paced the scoring with 12.

The Braves' 47 points is the first time scoring fewer than 50 points in a game since January 6th, 2018 against Evansville, a 68-44 final score.

Bradley will travel to Indiana State on Saturday.

Bradley Scoring: Elijah Childs (12), Nate Kennell (11), Koch Bar (8), Luuk van Bree (6), Ari Boya (3), Darrell Brown (2), Luqman Lundy (2), Peter Hanley (2), Antoine Pittman (1)

UNI Scoring: Berhow (14), Brown (14), Green (10), McDonnell (8), Dahl (6), Wentzien (5), Haldeman (5), Lohaus (3)

Bradley Team Stats:
FGs | 18 for 48 (37.5%)
3's | 5 for 17 (29.4%)
FTs | 6 for 8 (75.0%)
Reb | 28
Fls | 10
Ast | 12
TO | 12
Blk | 3
Stl | 4

UNI Team Stats:
FGs | 25 for 56 (44.6%)
3's | 10 for 22 (45.5%)
FTs | 5 for 7 (71.4%)
Reb | 34
Fls | 12
Ast | 17
TO | 7
Blk | 2
Stl | 7

Bradley Individual Leaders:
FGs | Childs / Kennell (4 each)
3's | Nate Kennell (3 for 7)
FTs | Childs / Bar (both 2 for 2)
Rebounds | Luuk van Bree (8)
Assists | Brown / Brummett (3 each)
Blocks | Three with 1 each
Steals | Four with 1 each

UNI Individual Leaders:
FGs | Isaiah Brown (6 for 12)
3's | Trae Berhow (4 for 6)
FTs | AJ Green (3 for 3)
Rebounds | Justin Dahl (8)
Assists | Green / Wentzien (4 each)
Blocks | Brown / Dahl (1 each)
Steals | McDonnell / Dahl (2 each)

Next Game:
@ Indiana State Sycamores
Hulman Center - Terre Haute, Indiana
1:00 pm CST
Radio | WMBD 1470 / 100.3
Web | ESPN3

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