Cold shooting, missed layups and lack of composure doomed the Bradley men’s basketball team in an inexcusable 72-66 loss against IUPUI Wednesday night at the Renaissance Coliseum.
IUPUI was 1-7 coming into the game with its lone win coming over a NAIA team. The loss is one of the worst in Coach Geno Ford’s three-year tenure with the Braves.
Bradley appeared every bit as bad as previous teams that finished near the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference in each of the last two seasons.
After the game, Ford said it was a “set back loss for sure.”
“The amount of layups that we missed was uncountable,” he said. “The [layups] is why we lost the game, but in the bigger picture is we need to stop getting down when things don’t go our way, and that is exactly what we did. We just couldn’t snap out of worrying about ourselves getting down all night. We just couldn’t get it going.”
The story of the game was poor shooting. Whether is was in the paint, from the perimeter or at the free throw line the Braves could not put the ball in the basket.
Bradley shot a season-worst 31 percent from the field. They missed at least ten layups and were 21-for-31 from the charity stripe.
Take the inability to score and the visibly frustrated Braves, and there was a recipe for an upset.
Bradley was a horrid 13 percent from three with sophomore sharpshooter Omari Grier going just 2 for 11. He scored a team-high 17 points, making nine free throws.
“I definitely did not have the best game of the season,” Grier said. “I also felt as a team we did not play that well. Once we start getting past the frustration and focus on the team, then we will be better.”
Three other Braves scored in double-figures with seniors Tyshon Pickett and Walt Lemon Jr. pouring in 13 points. Junior Auston Barnes had 11 points and eight boards.
Bradley’s record fell to 5-3 with a road game looming against Milwaukee tomorrow afternoon.
There is little doubt the team the needs to improve going forward if it has any shot of finishing in the top half of the MVC standings.
“We just need to play as a team,” Grier said. “I think after tonight we all need a reality check. I think everybody needs to realize what they bring to the table and needs to change how we play as a team.”