Bradley (15-13) at Illinois-Chicago (15-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 4 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (6,958) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: HLN, CSN-CHI. Home Record: Bradley 12-3, UIC 9-2. Away Record: Bradley 3-8, UIC 4-9. Neutral Record: Bradley 0-2, UIC 2-1. Conference Record: Bradley 7-9, UIC 6-8. Series Record: Bradley leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Bradley Braves will pay a visit to UIC Pavilion on Saturday afternoon to take on the Illinois-Chicago Flames in a BracketBuster matchup.
Bradley has had an up and down season in the Missouri Valley Conference, as the team enters this tilt with a 15-13 overall record and a 7-9 mark in league play. The Braves have dropped three of their last four contests, including Wednesday's 92-84 overtime loss at Drake. Following today's outing, they'll host Creighton on Wednesday before wrapping up the regular season at Missouri State next weekend.
UIC is back on campus for the start of a three-game homestand to close out its schedule. The Flames wrapped up a 1-3 road trip with a 64-53 loss at Milwaukee on Wednesday. They have had much better luck at UIC Pavilion, where they have won nine of 11 games this season.
Bradley leads the all-time series, 3-1, although this marks the first meeting between these two teams since the 2008-09 season.
The Braves coughed up a five-point lead in the final 26 seconds of regulation in Wednesday's game against Drake. The Bulldogs went on to make 18-of-20 free throws in the extra session to seal the deal. For Bradley, the loss spoiled a career-high 21 points from center Will Egolf. Walt Lemon, Jr. finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Dyricus Simms-Edwards scored 15 and pulled down seven boards. Tyshon Pickett rounded out the team's double-digit scorers with 13 points and six caroms. On the season, Lemon paces the squad with 15.3 points per game, followed by Simms-Edwards with 12.6 ppg and Pickett with 11.3 ppg. The Braves are shooting 43.7 percent from the floor and averaging 67.7 ppg, while their opponents are shooting 43.6 percent and scoring 67.1 ppg.
UIC prefers a slower tempo, as the Flames are shooting just 39.1 percent while averaging 61.9 points, and they have held foes to 40.8 percent shooting and 62.3 ppg. Gary Talton leads the way with 13.3 ppg. Second-leading scorer Daniel Barnes (11.0 ppg) warrants defensive attention along the perimeter, where he has knocked down a team-best 56 3-pointers (.361). Josh Crittle (10.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Hayden Humes (10.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) handle the dirty work down low. In Wednesday's loss at Milwaukee, Talton had a team-high 13 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. However, he was also the only player in double figures for the Flames, who shot just 35.1 percent as a team. The Panthers used a 15-6 run midway through the second half to take control.
UIC has a chance to close out the regular season strong with three straight home games. It will be interesting to see how the Braves respond after letting one slip through their fingers a few nights ago.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois-Chicago 58, Bradley 55
02/23 10:40:29 ET