Bradley sophomore guard Walt Lemon, Jr. scored a game-high 22 points and hit a career-best five 3-pointers, but it was not enough to prevent Northern Iowa (18-12, 8-9 MVC) from earning a 64-55 Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball victory Wednesday night at the McLeod Center.
Bradley (7-23, 2-15 MVC) came into the game averaging just 4.3 3-point field goals per game, but the Braves made their first five attempts from behind the arc in the game's opening 8:25. The hot start helped Bradley to a 19-13 lead when Walt Lemon, Jr. buried the fifth attempt from the left corner with 11:35 left in the half.
Adding a pair of interior baskets each from freshmen Jalen Crawford and Shayok Shayok, the Braves made nine of their first 13 field goal attempts for a 23-15 lead with 8:24 left in the half.
Already playing without injured season scoring leader Taylor Brown, the Braves took another blow when Lemon, the team's second-leading scorer, was hit with his third personal foul with 3:46 left in the first half and Bradley still leading 25-20.
Bradley completed the half shooting an even 50 percent from inside and outside the arc and took a 30-24 lead into the break. The Panthers, however, were 8-for-24 (.333) from the field and just 2-for-10 from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes.
The Panthers scored the first 10 points of the second half and took their first lead since it was 4-3 when Deon Mitchell drove through the lane for a 31-30 advantage with 17:35 remaining. Marc Sonnen, who scored eight of UNI's first 10 points to start the second half, stretched the lead to 34-30 when he buried a wing 3-pointer with 16:11 left.
With the second-half shooting flipped compared to the first half, UNI stretched its lead to 12 points, 52-40 on two Seth Tuttle free throws with 6:34 left. After Bradley's 5-for-5 start from long range, the Braves missed 12 of its next 13 attempts before Lemon connected from the right corner with 3:55 left to get Bradley within 54-47.
Bradley's efforts to complete the rally, however, were short-circuited when the Braves missed the front end of three 1-and-1 free throw opportunities in the final 2:31.
Bradley will close out the regular-season by hosting Interstate 74 rival Illinois State Saturday afternoon at Carver Arena. Saturday's game will be Senior Day and Bradley's three seniors - Taylor Brown, Anthony Thompson and Charonn Woods - will be honored in a pregame ceremony before the 1:05 p.m. tip against the Redbirds.
article courtesy BU Sports Information