After trailing by as many as 12 with 6:54 to play in the second half, Bradley men’s basketball surged back to tie the game in the final minute, but fell 67-65 at Toledo on Tuesday night.
After trailing from the 7:15 mark of the first half and into the second half, the game started to turn for the Braves after the deficit swelled to 12 at the 6:54 mark of the second frame – Toledo’s largest lead of the game.
Over the next 3:40, Bradley rattled off a 16-5 run – 11 of their points coming from junior guard Terry Roberts, who played with four fouls from the 9-minute mark onwards.
Within the final minute, Roberts cashed in layups on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 65 before Toledo grabbed the lead for good with two free throws from sophomore guard Ryan Rollins with six seconds left.
Bradley then took a timeout and drew up a play, which they struggled to get across halfcourt. With just a second remaining, Roberts caught the pass the left wing and hoisted a 3, which bounced off the rim and the backboard as the buzzer sounded.
After a slow, foul-riddled start from Roberts, the New York native turned it on down the stretch to lead Bradley with 21 points and three assists.
The Rockets had a two-man wrecking crew in Rollins and junior forward JT Shumate. Rollins led all scorers with 27 points, while Shumate turned in 18 points to pair with nine rebounds.
Fouls and free throws played a big part in Bradley’s demise.
Roberts picked up his third foul of the contest just two minutes into the second half, and his fourth with 14:06 remaining. Graduate guard Mikey Howell and senior forward Ja’Shon Henry also picked up their fourth fouls down the stretch.
Bradley went 11-18 (61%) at the free throw line, which proved to be costly down the stretch.
In the first half, Toledo dominated the paint game, outscoring Bradley 20-8 in the lane and outrebounding them 21-15. During their comeback, the Braves narrowed those deficits significantly in the second half; Toledo outrebounded Bradley 35-33 for the game and held the advantage in the paint at 34-26.
The contest itself was played at the Savage Center in Toledo – marking the Braves final road game for the next two weeks. Bradley’s next game will take place after a break for finals, on Dec. 18 against St. Joseph’s.
Terry Roberts on the final play of the game: “It felt good… [Toledo] played it pretty well, so we couldn’t really get the play to work how it was supposed to, but the ball ended up finding its way to me, still, so I was able to get a last second shot off.”
Roberts on the final stretch: “I’m just trying to spark my teammates and spark our team to get energy and be able to fight back.”
Wardle on Toledo: “They out-coached us, out-executed us and out-played us today. It was definitely a game where they were the better team and deserved to win.”
Wardle on Roberts: “I thought he played his heart out, and he battled a lot of adversity. Thank goodness Terry was on the floor tonight for us, because he really carried us in stretches when he wasn’t on the bench in foul trouble. [I’m] proud of him. Other guys need to step up – we can be better.”