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One-On-One: The best Bradley athletic feat over break

When final exams end and students return home for winter break, athletic triumphs continue. With plenty of games by both basketball squads and two indoor track competitions taking place, it’s important to highlight the most notable performances.

The New Year’s Eve massacre of UIC

By Jacob Hypke

Bradley men’s basketball’s 79-45 blowout of the Illinois-Chicago Flames at Carver Arena on Dec. 31 was the most notable performance of the break.

This was a great game for the Braves, who put away the visitors before the teams even reached the second half. Bradley’s depth won the day as they earned 30 points off the bench compared to the Flames’ six. A true team effort led to the large victory.

It also takes quality defense to keep the other team to only 45 points in a 40 minute game. Add in the fact that UIC was held to just 13 points in the first frame—including a span of about nine minutes where the Flames only point came at the charity stripe—and you’ve got yourself a dominant performance from start to finish. That speaks volumes about the level of defense that the Braves were playing to extinguish the Flames.

This win really set the tone for the back end of their dominant run at home, giving the team a lot of confidence in their ability to potentially cruise past teams in the conference and put up a metaphorical “beware” sign to all who enter Carver Arena.

Zipping past Akron

By Ethan Carbone

On Dec. 22, Bradley trounced Akron 74-55 for the best Bradley sports result over winter break. Heading into the season, Bradley had scheduled the Zips in order to test themselves against one of the best teams in the Mid-American Conference. Heading into the contest, it was crucial to add another key non-conference win to the record and the Braves did that and more.

In the game, Bradley’s defensive pressure forced many misses and poor shot selection by Akron who was only able to make 16 field goals of their attempted 57 leaving just two Zips with double figures in the process. Bradley junior forward Rienk Mast anchored the paint, sending two shots back, and senior forward Malevy Leons added to his MVC Defensive Player of the Year quality season with two steals and a block. As the Braves continued, their solid defensive play en route to the thrashing of Akron.

On the offensive end, Bradley shot much better than their opposition, shooting over 42 from the field and four players scoring in double figures. Mast led Bradley with 15 points as he used his strength in the paint and smooth jumper to score. Helping the Braves in their blowout 74-55 win was shooting 14 out of 30 three-pointers from beyond the arc. Bradley scored their fifth-highest scoring outcome at that point in the season.

Because of Bradley’s stellar play on offense and defense against a quality team in Akron, I had to choose this as my pick for the best performance by Bradley over break.

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