Following an emotional victory against I-74 rival Illinois State, the Braves went on the road Jan. 31. Neither Mother Nature nor their opponent, Missouri State, treated them well.
Unable to take a flight from Peoria to Springfield, Mo. due to weather, the team had to take the more than five and half hour bus ride.
Once they got there, the Braves continued their road woes, shooting 37 percent (19-51) en route to a 74-61 loss. The loss dropped the Braves into seventh place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 4-6 conference record and a 9-14 record overall.
The loss against Missouri State also dropped the Braves’ record away from the Civic Center to a winless 0-10 this season.
Coach Geno Ford said the team needs to find another form of energy on the road because, right now, they are not getting it done away from home.
“We haven’t been able to sustain that defensive pressure and intensity that we have shown at home, unlike our offense that has been consistent,” Ford said. “You can’t only bring one phase of your game with you on the road.”
Ford continued to point out that, for some reason, his team cannot figure it out on the road, despite the game not changing that much.
“We have to have a better mental approach every time we hit the floor,” Ford said. “The game is not that different; yet, we play very differently.”
Senior guard Walt Lemon led the Braves with 13 points against Missouri State and tied his career high with eight assists. Lemon said he doesn’t think it is one specific thing that is bothering the team on the road, but they need to have more energy.
“It is not one particular thing,” Lemon said. “We just haven’t been able to bring the energy we have at home with us on the road.”
The Braves traveled up to Chicago, where four members of the current Braves’ roster hail from, on Thursday to face MVC-newcomer Loyola.
Lemon, who is from Chicago and went to Julian High School in the city, said it would be a cool moment playing in front of his friends and family for most likely the last time in Chicago.
“I’m excited,” Lemon said. “This is going to be my last time to shine in front of my friends and family so I am looking forward to it.”
The Braves then come home on Feb. 9 to play Evansville in the annual “Pink Game” to honor breast cancer awareness. Look for an updated story on bradleyscout.com on Friday after the Loyola game.
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