Hello from Carver. It’s T-Minus 20 minutes to the tip-off of today’s game between Bradley and No. 18 Northern Iowa.
No white-outs, black-outs, red-outs, green-outs or beige-outs today, the focus is simply on trying to contain the two-headed monster that is UNI’s inside game and UNI’s outside game. The Panthers (22-2, 13-1 MVC) are led by gigantor senior Jordan Eglseder (7-foot, 280 pounds) and the perimeter attack of Ali Farokmanesh and Johnny Moran. Kwadzo Ahelegbe also adds the intangibles as one of the most hard-nosed attacking guards in the conference and senior Adam Koch can pretty much do all of the above, averaging 12.9 points, and 4.6 rebounds a game.
Long story short, the Panthers are a handful.
Bradley (12-12, 7-7) has never beaten a ranked team here at Carver and their last outing out probably hasn’t inspired a ton-and-a-half of confidence, as the Braves dropped their fifth home game of the season to Illinois State. Despite building a 14-point lead behind a solid defensive effort, Bradley was killed on the boards and went cold in the game’s final seven minutes, resulting in yet another blown double-digit lead at home.
National Anthem and tip-off upcoming…
Before the game, I was pondering whether we could see a “storm-the-court” situation with a Bradley win. I don’t think we are going to have to worry about that, seeing as how half of the student section is empty. A very quick head count shows about 100 students in sections six and eight (not counting the band). Seriously guys?
This is No. 18 in the country.
Starting for the Panthers will be the five above-mentioned names and taking the tip for the Braves will be the usual cast of Will Egolf, Andrew Warren, Chris Roberts, Taylor Brown and Sam Maniscalco.
Eglseder wins an awkward tip and hits a quick turnaround to start. Warren misses a 3 for Bradley and Koch does the same for UNI. Sloppy start, as both teams have missed their fair share of early layups. Egolf takes Eglseder to the hole for Bradley’s first two points. Farokhmanesh hits a triple and Egolf answers with two more in the paint.
Warren airballs out of the 15:45 timeout and Sam Singh throws a pass away, leading to a Kerwin Dunham putback.
Dyricus Simms-Edwards gets to the line for the second time, where he has hit 3-of-4 and tied the game at seven; that is, until Eglseder puts back his own miss for UNI. Egolf flashes into the lane and hangs in the air a la Chris Roberts, converting the layup. At the 11:52 timeout, it’s UNI 11, Bradley 9.
Neither team is exactly shooting the lights out — Bradley has hit just 3-of-10 and UNI has made 5-of-16 (31 percent).
Warren keeps that trend up with a missed layup, but TB grabs a steal on the other end. Farokhmanesh misses a pull-up 3 and TB finishes off the resulting 3-on-2 with a layup.
Ali finally connects on a 3 and Roberts cancels part of it out with a 2-point jumper on the Bradley end. Kwazdo hits a fall-away jumper after the Panthers aren’t able to get the ball inside and TB is whistled for a travel on the BU end. Singh draws a foul on Lucas O’Rear, signaling the 7:48 timeout. UNI 18, Bradley 13.
Chris Roberts shows some signs of life with a nice slash to the bucket for 2. Bradley defense looks sharp, causing a Ahelegbe turnover. Time for some shots to start falling.
DSE fouls Kwadzo from beyond the arc and he hits all three. Maniscalco misses from outside and Anthony James shows him how it’s done, hitting another triple for UNI and making the score 24-15 purple. Timeout Bradley.
Roberts with another acrobatic layup out of the timeout and Marc Sonnen hits a jumper to answer for the Panthers. Maniscalco misses a rushed 3, but grabs an immediate steal. He’s fouled and will shoot a pair after the 3:37 timeout.
Sammy hits them both and Moran misses a 3 for UNI. Roberts misses a top-of-the-key jumper and Koch finishes a fastbreak layup off the rebound.
Kwadzo hits a jumper and Egolf answers right back. One minute to play. Farokhmanesh comes up empty on a long 3, but Moran is there to grab the board. Timeout UNI.
Koch hits a turnaround jumper out of the timeout and Warren can’t beat the buzzer for Bradley. At the break, it’s UNI 32, Bradley 23.
TB starts out the half with a steal, outletting to Warren, who hits Roberts for a quick layup. After Eglseder misses literally four shots in a row, Roberts skies for a block, leading to a Warren 3. That’s followed by an Eglseder travel. Maybe the Braves will be the ones to land the second-half punch tonight.
Another Eglseder turnover leads to an Egolf miss and a Koch miss from 3. Bradley responds with another Warren jumper, this one for two. Those are his first five points of the night. Bradley within two.
Maniscalco with a steal and Bradley ties things up before Jacobson calls timeout. That’s a 9-0 run to start the second half. Who dat?
Another UNI turnover, this one by O’Rear, leads to the 15:54 timeout. Here come the Braves with their first chance at a lead. TB misses from 3.
Dunham airballs from 3 and the drought continues. Sam Singh throws it away for Bradley though and Kwadzo misses a jumper. Maniscalco with his patented jab step turnaround jumper and the Braves are up two.
Farokhmanesh makes it a short lead with a 3 to answer for UNI. Eglseder is fouled and he hits both free throws to put the Panthers up three.
Interesting no-call as TB appeared to be hacked on the drive to the basket, but no UNI points result. Warren gets to the line on the following Braves trip and he hits both. Andrew didn’t get to the line at all against ISU and hopefully he will decide to make some drives today.
Koch kicks it out of bounds and Warren beats the shot clock with a falling away 3-pointer. Bradley back up by two. UNI fouls and we are to the 10:59 timeout. Bradley 39, UNI 37.
A few quick stats: Warren has quickly tied the Bradley scoring lead with 10 points (tying Egolf). UNI has hit just one of its first 11 shots in the second half, compared to Bradley’s 6-of-10.
TB hits a pair of freebies out of the media timeout and takes a four-point lead before O’Rear is left wide open underneath for a layup. DSE drives to the bucket for an And-1 and hits the free throw. Maniscalco is whistled for a grab — already the Braves’ sixth team foul.
Kwadzo banks in a 3 (does that count?) and cuts it to a two point game. TB misses the baseline jumper and Bradley gets a steal on the UNI end. Simms-Edwards on the fastbreak is called for a charge of Farokhmanesh, but the basket will count. Ali hits both freebies to negate it, however. Weird call…
Final Four referee John Higgins may be trying to make up for that last call. He whistles two ticky-tack UNI fouls, but Bradley isn’t able to come away with a basket. Taylor Brown picks up a touchy foul of his own and Johnny Moran hits both of the resulting free throws. ANOTHER foul away from the ball, this one on Kwadzo, placing the Braves in the bonus. TB misses a jumper, but gets his own rebound and is fouled. He hits both free throws.
Koch is called for a travel, bringing us to the 7:44 timeout. Bradley 48, UNI 46.
Warren misses a jumper out of the timeout and Farokhmanesh does the same. Maniscalco gives up an open three and drives inside where he finds an open Taylor Brown, who hits the layup. Warren with a beautious turnaround jumper and it’s Bradley by six.
Roberts is called for a foul underneath and Eglseder splits the free throws. Roberts goes AND-1 and hits the free throw. Folks, it’s Bradley by eight right now with 4:46 to play. To quote David After Dentist… “Is this real life?”
UNI coach Ben Jacobsen calls time. Bradley 55, UNI 47.
Koch is called for a player-control foul and here come the Braves. Warren comes up empty for Bradley and Eglseder is fouled and he hits both free throws. Warren misses again and Bradley knocks it OB on the UNI end. Final media timeout comes with 3:37 to play.
Moran misses a 3-ball, but the rebound hangs just out of Roberts’ reach. Koch gets the board and draws a foul. He hits them both. Roberts knocks down a turnaround jumper and the crowd is into it. A Koch miss gives it back to Bradley and Maniscalco draws a foul on Kwadzo. Both teams are now in the double bonus and Sammy hits them both. Timeout Bradley, leading 59-51.
Koch again comes up empty for UNI. Warren grabs the rebound and draws a foul. He splits the free throws. Ahelegbe answers with an And-1 for the Panthers and he hits the free throw to make it a six point game with 2 minutes to play.
With the shot clock running out, Warren is fouled. He knocks both freebies down. Bradley by eight. Kwadzo knocks it out of bounds and gives it back to Bradley. Oh, man. You can start to feel it. A storm-the-court situation is looming….
The Braves throw it away and O’Rear is fouled. I’m just going to say “FT” from now on. There are too many to spell out. He hits both.
Maniscalco travels underneath…appeared to be fouled, but maye I’m swept up in upset madness…
Farokhmanesh misses a 3-ball and TB skies for a rebound. He’s immediately fouled and will shoot two. Taylor sinks both, but Ali answers with a quick 3.
Beautiful press break leads to a wide open Egolf layup and TB is again fouled on a Moran miss. That’s Koch’s fifth foul and he will depart. Taylor hits ’em both again. Bradley by nine. Ali misses another and the “Overrated” chant is filling the student section.
That’s it. Bradley wins it. Here come the students!!! I gotta go off to the presser. What a win!
Bradley 68, UNI 59.