Bradley (5-6) vs. Pacific (8-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 21, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena & Equestrian Center (4,600) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: None. Home Record: Bradley 5-2, Pacific 4-0. Away Record: Bradley 0-3, Pacific 2-1. Neutral Record: Bradley 0-1, Pacific 2-1. Conference Record: Bradley 0-0, Pacific 0-0. Series Record: Bradley leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: As part of the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic the Bradley Braves and Pacific Tigers will face off at the Arena & Equestrian Center in Las Vegas.
Bradley entered the weekend on a three-game losing streak. The opening round of the didn't put a stop to the losing trend, as the Braves were routed, 74-53, by Portland. They now find themselves with a record below .500 (5-6) for the first time this season. Bradley needs to figure things out quickly as it has just a game against South Florida before the Missouri Valley Conference schedule kicks in.
Pacific was enjoying an 8-1 start to the campaign before running into Princeton on Friday night. Pacific was shut down en route to an 83-58 loss in the contest, ending a seven-game winning streak. After this game the team will be off until Dec. 30 when it faces Saint Mary's.
In just two previous matchups between these programs, Bradley has come out on top both times. That includes a 59-49 triumph when they last met in 2009.
In the loss to Portland the Braves connected on just 35.6 percent of their shots from the field. That included a paltry 4-of-13 showing from beyond the arc. Not helping matters was the 17 turnovers Bradley was guilty of. Omari Grier managed to score 17 points as one of two players in double figures in the losing effort.
Scoring has been a season-long ordeal for the Braves. They are netting just 68 points per game, while knocking down 44 percent from the field. The team is often stagnant on offense, failing to move the ball effectively with just 9.6 assists per game. It is unfortunate considering Bradley is holding foes to 67.9 points per game and 42.4 percent shooting. Grier (13 ppg) is part of a trio of player averaging in double figures for the Braves. Walt Lemon Jr. (16.1 ppg, 4 apg) is the leader among the three as well as the team's best ball handler. Tyshon Pickett (13.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Auston Barnes (9.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are also solid contributors.
Pacific just couldn't stop Princeton on Friday night, especially from beyond the arc. It was outscored by a massive, 54-9, margin from 3-point range to take the loss. Sama Taku scored 12 points to as the lead score for Pacific, but he netted just 4-of-12 field goal attempts.
The offensive performance from the Tigers was rather out of the ordinary considering they are averaging 76.4 points per game and shooting at a 46.3 percent clip on the season. That has included a 36.6 percent from beyond the arc. Led by Andrew Bock (12.1 ppg) the Tigers have four different players averaging in double figures. Taku (12 ppg) is another contributor that is called on to help keep the Tigers competitive offensively, while Tony Gill (11.5 ppg) and Ross Rivera (10.5 ppg) perform critical roles as well. Unfortunately Bock, Rivera and Gill combined for just 13 points in the loss to Princeton.
Prior to its loss to Princeton, Pacific had been rolling along. Expect a return to form on Saturday against a Bradley team that lacks any real long range threats to speak of.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pacific 76, Bradley 66
12/21 11:16:37 ET