Ben Simons scored 16 of his 21 points in the final 7:26, helping Drake (9-7, 2-3 MVC) rally for an 82-74 victory versus visiting Bradley (5-12, 0-5 MVC) Tuesday night at the Drake Knapp Center.
Taylor Brown scored a career-best 28 points to lead Bradley and added 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season, but the senior forward could not prevent the Braves from dropping their eighth straight.
Bradley got off to a quick start, holding the Bulldogs without a point before the first media timeout while building a 7-0 lead. Drake missed its first nine field goal attempts before Jeremy Jeffers drained a 3-pointer with 12:22 left in the half, but eight Bradley turnovers in the 7-and-a-half minutes kept the visitors from getting more separation.
The Bulldogs eventually heated up, making eight of their next 13 field goal attempts, and took their first lead, 18-15, on Jeffers' second 3-pointer with 9:50 left in the half. The game remained a back-and-forth affair throughout the remainder of the half, which ended with the Braves holding a 34-33 lead.
Drake started cold again to start the second half, going more than eight minutes without a field goal after scoring on its first possession of the half. While the Braves took initial advantage of the cold shooting to build a 46-36 lead, an uncommon rash of fouls allowed the Bulldogs back into the game. Drake made 7-of-9 free throw attempts during a 2-minute, 20-second stretch to pull within 46-43 with 11:55 left in the game.
Rayvonte Rice broke the shooting drought with a steal and dunk to make it 46-45 with 11:12 left and Alexander banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 48-48 tie with 10:43 to go and a David Smith layup with 9:39 left put the hosts back on top, 50-49.
An 8-0 Drake outburst in 57 seconds, highlighted by two Simons 3-pointers, stretched its lead to 63-53 with 5:02 remaining. The Bulldogs then answered a Brown 3-pointer with a 4-point possession, getting layups from Simons and Rice on either end of a missed Simons free throw, for their first double-digit lead, 67-56.
Two free throws by both Brown and Charonn Woods before a banked Brown 3-pointer with 3:06 left got the Braves back to within 67-63. Bradley had a chance to cut deeper into the lead, but after Walt Lemon Jr. missed a 3-point try, Kurt Alexander converted an old-fashioned 3-point play for a 70-63 advantage with 1:56 left.
A combination of three more free throws from Brown and Woods again cut the deficit to four, 70-66, with 1:10 remaining, but a fifth foul on Woods sent Rice to the line for two free throws with 55.1 seconds left. Lemon Jr. set up Shayok Shayok for a dunk, but the Bradley freshman travelled and the Bulldogs closed out the game at the line.
article courtesy BU Sports Information