Bradley junior forward Tyshon Pickett recorded his second career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Braves (7-2) to a 62-43 win against Georgia Southern (4-6) in the first round of the 2012 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic Monday night at Carver Arena.
While matching the team's 2011-12 season victory total (7-25), Bradley overcame a cold-shooting night with its best defensive performance in eight years. The Braves shot just 33.9 percent (20-59) from the field, but held Georgia Southern to 43 points on 35.4 percent (17-48) shooting, the fewest points allowed since Jan. 3, 2004 in a 52-42 win against Indiana State.
Will Egolf joined Pickett as the only other Brave in double figures, scoring 12 points while adding eight rebounds. In addition to his offensive effort, Pickett turned in a solid defensive effort by helping to limit Georgia Southern star forward Eric Ferguson to four points and seven rebounds. C.J. Reed led the Eagles with 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Bradley frontcourt duo led the Braves to a 45-32 rebounding advantage and Bradley's 19 offensive rebounds led to a 19-7 advantage in second-chance points. The Braves also committed just five turnovers in the game and finished with a 17-3 lead in points off turnovers.
Bradley's defense seemed to crack at the beginning of the second half, when the Eagles went on an 13-2 run to tie the game at 31-31 with 16:12 left. Jordan Prosser and Shayok Shayok each made two free throws to put the Braves back in front for good and Egolf's second 3-pointer of the game with 10:38 left ignited a 17-3 run that put the game away.
Bradley will close out its season-long, 4-game home stand Wednesday night when the Braves host Mississippi Valley State (0-6) in a 7:05 p.m. tip at Carver Arena in the second round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. The final two rounds of the tournament will be played at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday night against Virginia Tech and Sunday night against either Colorado State or Portland.