The Bradley men’s basketball team obliterated Indiana State, 96-67, on Saturday at Carver Arena. The Braves improved their record to 13-12 overall and 5-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the Sycamores fell to 12-12 and 4-8 in
Prior to the game, the Sycamores had won the previous two meetings, including Bradley’s final regular-season game last year.
Junior guard Darrell Brown noted how important the game was for him personally and for the
team after coming off of a win at Northern Iowa.
“[The game] was big,” Brown said. “Regardless of who we played, today was going to be a big
game. We needed to win regardless of who we played, and for me personally, I haven’t beaten [Indiana State] at home in the three years I’ve been here.”
On Saturday the Braves started off in a favorable fashion, hitting their first three 3-pointers along with a pair of free throws to go up 11-0 in the first two minutes. The Sycamores were forced to use a timeout and recollect.
“The fast start for us set the tone for the game,” Bradley head coach Brian Wardle said. “I loved our execution early on both ends of the floor. It was nice to see that here; the guys deserve a game like that. What I do like is that we kept the gas pedal down and kept attacking.”
The Sycamores then posted up their first points of the game off a jumper from guard Allante Holston and a three from guard Christian Williams, bringing the score within eight points, 13-5. This was the closest Indiana State got to Bradley before the Braves took full control.
In the remaining seven minutes of the half, the Braves went on a 22-7 run to go up 54-27 heading into the locker room. The highlight came at the end when Brown scored back-to-back threes and a driving layup in front of a roaring Carver Arena crowd. He led the first half with 19 points.
The Braves’ offense continued to bring the heat for the second half, with a 37-point lead apex around the 10-minute mark off junior Nate Kennell’s 3-pointer. This was Bradley’s largest lead of the night.
The 96-67 win was the largest in 13 years for Bradley in MVC play. Wardle was pleased with his team’s ability to keep the lead, even though there were some instances the Braves faltered.
“I’m proud of our guys for keeping that lead and sustaining it in the second half,” Wardle said. “We had breakdowns, but we’ll get better.”
Brown led all scorers with 26 points and notably made a career-best six 3-pointers on only nine attempts. Freshman forward Ja’Shon Henry had a season-best performance of his own, scoring 17 points and pulling down five rebounds.
Henry said he was pleased with his performance and was ready to be called into the game.
“When it comes to game time, you just always got to be ready to come in, because you never know when your name is going to be called,” Henry said. “Mine’s been called lately and I’ve been trying to step up for the team and do my role and do my part.”
He pointed to lessons he had learned from this season as a reason for his success.
“It all starts at practice,” Henry said. “You just got to know the game plan coming in. As a freshman, you got to know your role and embrace it. You need to be a star in your role basically, as coach Wardle says, and that’s what we got to do.”
Wardle noted that Henry’s career-best performance was not surprising.
“[Henry’s 17 points] was going to come sooner or later,” Wardle said. “He’s been practicing well and putting a little extra work with his free throw shooting. He’s a physical guy and loves contact. I think he’s a hard matchup, especially when you switch a guard on him.”
Bradley currently sits at seventh in the MVC standings with six games to go. To avoid a Thursday game in Arch Madness, they need to finish in the top six. After winning five out of the last seven games, they host MVC leader Loyola-Chicago on Wednesday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m at Carver Arena.