Bradley was held without a 3-point field goal for an entire game for the second time this season and the cold-shooting allowed Drake (15-12, 8-8 MVC) to escape Carver Arena with a 62-55 victory against the Braves (7-21, 2-14 MVC) Wednesday night.
Bradley finished the game 0-for-20 from behind the 3-point arc, but still managed to cut an 18-point deficit with 9:35 remaining to three, 56-53, with 1:20 remaining. Compounding Wednesday's shooting struggles, season scoring leader Taylor Brown (15.3 ppg) injured his right big toe early in the first half and managed only seven scoreless minutes.
Sophomore guard Walt Lemon, Jr. tried to pick up the slack by scoring a game-high 22 points off the Bradley bench. Sophomore center Jordan Prosser was Bradley's only other double-digit scorer, finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds. Junior swingman Jake Eastman equaled a career-high with 10 boards.
Rayvonte Rice paced the Bulldos with 15 points, while Kurt Alexander added 15 off the bench and Aaron Hawley chipped in with 12, highlighted by an off-balanced jumper from the right wing with 47 seconds left to give the Bulldogs some breathing room, 58-53. Jordan Clarke snared a career-best 16 rebounds to lead Drake's 44-39 rebounding advantage.
Bradley hit five of its first nine field goal attempts and built a 14-5 lead with 10:34 left in the first half, but the Braves quickly went cold and missed 14 of their final 17 field goal attempts of the half. Despite the cold shooting, the Braves trailed just 24-20 at the break.
After Bradley trimmed the deficit to 26-24 to start the second half, three straight interior buckets triggered a 25-7 Drake outburst that left the Bulldogs with a 49-31 lead with 9:35 left.
Lemon scored 14 points during Bradley's 22-7 flurry to get back into the game. After Hawley's basket stopped the bleeding, the Braves missed their next three field goal attempts and failed to capitalize on Drake's string of seven consecutive missed free throws before Alexander ended the skid by sinking two with 11 seconds left for a 60-53 advantage.
Both teams will step out of league play Saturday to participate in the ESPN BracketBusters series. Bradley will host Loyola-Chicago in a 7 p.m. tip at Carver Arena, while Drake will visit New Mexico State.
Article courtesy Bradley Sports Information