PEORIA, Ill. – Bradley used a 16-0 run over a key seven-minute stretch in the second half to extend a one-point lead to 17 and never looked back in a 72-52 win here Tuesday over visiting Missouri State in Missouri Valley Conference play.
The Bears (15-7, 5-4 MVC) all but erased a double-figure deficit before halftime, but after a baseline jumper by Jarrid Rhodes 70 seconds into the second period, MSU saw its offensive well dry up. Meanwhile, Bradley (15-8, 5-4 MVC) started firing on all cylinders to put the outcome in hand.
With 12:33 to play, Elijah Childs ripped an offensive rebound out of the hands of Alize Johnson and put it back in to make it 42-30. On Bradley’s next possession, Darrell Brown knocked down a triple before Koch Barr answered with another BU layup moments later to put the home side up 47-30 with just under 11 minutes to go.
The Braves would eventually lead by as many as 20 as the Braves improved to 11-0 at home.
“We struggled to score,” said MSU head coach Paul Lusk. “They were much better the second half and it just got away from us.”
Ronnie Rousseau III shared team-high honors with Jarrid Rhodes, scoring 10 points apiece. Rousseau also added four assists, while Obediah Church snagged a team-high 9 rebounds to go with 8 points.
Bradley’s Darrell Brown scored 20 points to lead three Braves in double figures, while Elijah Childs scored 12 and gathered up 12 rebounds.
In the first half, Bradley had two 5-0 runs and a 6-0 run to lead 16-5 just six-and-a-half minutes into the game. The Braves pushed ahead 20-8 after a jumper by Jayden Hodgson with 9:47 to go in the stanza.
But the Bears rallied from there, getting key defensive stops and a 7-0 run to get back in it. A trey by Jarred Dixon, a bucket by Church and a baseline jumper by Rousseau made it a 24-21 game.
BU’s Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye knocked down a 3-pointer on Bradley’s next possession to push the home side ahead by six, but the Bears ended the half with five of the last seven points, first on a layup by Ross Owens and then a trey at the buzzer by Rousseau to make it a 29-28 game at the intermission.
For the game, Bradley out-rebounded Missouri State by a 39-35 margin, marking the second straight game – and just fourth this season – the Bears have lost the battle of the glass.
The Bears converted just 31.6 percent of their field goal attempts (18-of-57) and 8-of-33 (.242) from three, but committed just 11 turnovers.
Bradley made good on 26-of-58 (.448) shots overall and 6-of-19 (.316) from three with five turnovers.
MSU was without the services of key reserves Reggie Scurry and Abdul Fofana who stayed behind after suffering foot injuries during a team cryotherapy session on Monday.
Missouri State begins the second half of the Valley slate when it returns home on Saturday, Jan. 27 to take on Southern Illinois at 5 p.m. on a “Black Out” night at JQH Arena.