Bears fall to Bradley in OT thriller

PEORIA, Ill. – Bradley scored seven of its 11 overtime points at the free throw line, including a pair from Elijah Childs with 38 seconds left to help the Braves squeak pass visiting Missouri State, 83-79, in a physical Missouri Valley Conference overtime thriller here Wednesday.

Darrell Brown led five Bradley players in double figures with 19 points, while Missouri State’s Lamont West tallied a game-high 20 points to lead the visitors.

The Bears (13-15, 7-8 MVC) erased an 11-point second-half deficit with an incredible run late in the game. Isiaih Mosley scored seven of his nine points in a key one-minute stretch that brought MSU back from a 66-58 margin to within one with 4:31 to go. Moments later, Nate Kennell scored a long jumper for Bradley as the shot clock expired to make it a three-point contest, but the Bears weren’t done.

West was up to the task and led MSU’s charge with five unanswered points to give Missouri State a 70-68 advantage with 3:13 to play. Both teams added free throws down the stretch, and then both teams traveled on their last offensive possessions of regulation. Brown’s turnover for BU came with 4 seconds to go to give Missouri State one last chance, and West’s desperation shot from half court was off target, sending the game to overtime tied 72-72.

The extra period saw the Bears jump ahead on a transition layup from Keandre Cook to make it 75-74 with four minutes to go. Bradley notched its next five points at the foul line to retake the lead 79-75 over the next two minutes. MSU responded on a put-back from West and then a layup by Cook that tied it up 79-79 with 58 seconds remaining.

Cook was fouled on his game-tying shot but missed the chance to complete the 3-point play, keeping the score knotted until Childs’ two free throws gave Bradley a lead it would not relinquish with 38 ticks showing. On Missouri State’s last true possession of the game, Cook’s jumper just missed, and Bradley scored on a run-out dunk to win it by four.

The Bears scored more field goals than Bradley, converting 27-of-76 (.355) shots overall and 5-of-23 (.217) from beyond the 3-point arc. Missouri State was also 20-of-27 (.741) at the foul line with just 10 turnovers on the night.

Josh Hall contributed 17 points with a team-high 9 rebounds for Missouri State, while Cook added 13 points and Prim scored 10 with 8 boards before fouling out late in regulation.

Bradley (19-9, 10-5 MVC) was 26-of-53 (.491) from the field, 5-of-13 (.385) from long range and 26-of-36 (.722) at the free throw line. The Braves out-rebounded the Bears by a narrow 44-42 margin and committed 18 turnovers.

Both teams scored 32 points in the paint.

In the first half, the Bears matched Bradley punch-for-punch for the first 12 minutes before a 9-1 run by the Braves pushed the home side ahead 33-25 with three minutes remaining in the half. The Bears responded with a free throw by Darian Scott and then ended a field goal drought of nearly six minutes with a transition bucket from West to get the Bears within five.

But BU pushed ahead by nine at the intermission, 41-32, thanks in part to the third trey of the half from Bradley’s Ville Tahvanainen in the final two minutes.

After a hard-fought 1-1 road swing, the Bears return to JQH Arena on Saturday, Feb. 22 to battle Loyola at 2:30 p.m. in a nationally-televised contest as part of MSU Athletics Hall of Fame weekend.

Tickets for the Loyola game, and all home contests, are available at MissouriStateBears.com, or by visiting the Old Missouri Bank Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678, during regular box office hours.