Bradley (15-12) at Drake (11-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Knapp Center (7,152) -- Des Moines, Iowa. Television: MC 22. Home Record: Bradley 12-3, Drake 7-5. Away Record: Bradley 3-7, Drake 3-7. Neutral Record: Bradley 0-2, Drake 1-3. Conference Record: Bradley 7-8, Drake 5-10. Series Record: Bradley leads 80-56.
GAME NOTES: Missouri Valley Conference action takes center stage at the Knapp Center on Wednesday night as the Drake Bulldogs host the Bradley Braves.
The Braves are coming off an 80-68 win over Indiana State. The win dug them out of two-game slump and could be a momentum starter for Bradley which had lost five of its last seven games. This is the first of a two-game road swing for the Braves who will travel to the UIC Pavilion next to face Illinois- Chicago.
The Bulldogs are in the midst of a four-game losing streak after taking a 71-64 loss at the hands of Northern Iowa. It was the fifth consecutive game that Drake allowed an opponent to score over 70 points. This is the second of a three-game homestand for the Bulldogs before heading to Indiana State.
The Braves lead the all-time series between these squads 80-56. Bradley will be looking for the season sweep after earning a 67-57 win back in late December to start conference play.
In the win over Indiana State, Walt Lemon Jr. and Tyshon Pickett scored 17 points each. Five Braves scored in double figures including Ka'Darryl Bell, who had a career-high day with 10 points, all of which came in the final seven minutes of the game. Dyricus Simms-Edwards scored 13 points and Will Egolf added 12 points with nine rebounds. Lemon Jr. is the squad's top scorer this season with 15.1 ppg while shooting over 45.0 percent from the field and over 80.0 percent from the free-throw line. Simms-Edwards adds 12.5 ppg while Pickett shoots 48.3 percent from the floor and contributes 11.2 ppg and a team-high 5.7 rpg. The Braves do a good job defensively of forcing turnovers as opponents average 15.7 per game.
Drake shot over 50.0 percent from the field in the loss to UNI and was led by an 18-point performance from Chris Hines. Hines knocked down 4-of-6 3-point attempts while Micah Mason and Seth VanDeest tallied 10 points each. VanDeest also had four blocks, while Jordan Clarke put together a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds to go with three steals. Despite the Bulldogs' strong play the Panthers went 13-of-26 from beyond the arc to take the win. Ben Simons is the only Bulldog scoring in double figures this season with 14.5 ppg on 45.3 percent shooting from the field. Simons shoots quite efficiently from all over, hitting on 41.0 percent of his 3-point attempts and making 88.1 percent of his free-throw attempts. Clarke is the Bulldogs' top rebounder pulling down 8.4 boards per game. While Drake plays well offensively, it really struggles on the defensive end, allowing 74.2 ppg.
The Bulldogs are in a funk right now as they have managed just a 5-10 record in conference action. The Braves are coming off a win and with an explosive offense they look to build off their recent success and finish the season strong. Drake's poor defensive play will cost it against Bradley.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bradley 78, Drake 71
02/20 11:04:25 ET