by Rick Kindhart
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 past 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.