Bradley (9-13) at Missouri State (14-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 3:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: JQH Arena (11,200) -- Springfield, Missouri. Television: None. Home Record: Bradley 9-4, MSU 10-1. Away Record: Bradley 0-7, MSU 3-5. Neutral Record: Bradley 0-2, MSU 1-1. Conference Record: Bradley 4-5, MSU 4-5. Series Record: Missouri State leads, 32-18.
GAME NOTES: The Bradley Braves have made the trek to Springfield to take on the Missouri State Bears in a Missouri Valley Conference tilt at JHQ Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Playing well recently, the Braves have won three of their last four games. On Wednesday night, they easily beat Illinois State at home, 64-45.
In other MVC action on Wednesday night, Missouri State fell to Drake in an 84-74 final. That loss snapped a modest two-game win streak for the Bears, leaving them at 5-5 in their last 10 outings.
This is the 51st all-time meeting in the series, with Missouri State leading 32-18, including 18-4 in Springfield where the Bears have won four straight in the series. The teams split the season series in 2012-13, with each winning at home.
Walt Lemon, Jr. finished with a game-high 20 points to lead the Braves past Illinois State at Carver Arena. Tyshon Pickett added 12 points, Ka'Darryl Bell scored 11 points and Auston Barnes posted his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Holding a 25-22 lead at intermission, the Braves went on a 12-0 run midway through the second stanza to put the game away. The Braves made the most of the Redbirds' miscues, forcing 19 turnovers and converting them into 23 points.
Lemon leads the Braves in scoring, averaging 17.3 ppg, good for fourth in the conference. Pickett (11.7 ppg) and Omari Grier (10.7 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers for Bradley. As a team, the Braves rank last in the league with only 64.0 ppg. Luckily for them they are holding foes to just 66.1 ppg, which is second-best in the MVC.
Drake snapped a seven-game losing streak to Missouri State on Wednesday. Austin Ruder scored 21 points to lead the Bears, while Ron Mvouika finished with 13 and Jarmar Gulley chipped in with a dozen. Drake was hot from the field to start the game and took a 38-25 lead at the break. Trailing by three, 66-63, with just over five minutes to play, Drake used an 11-0 run to grab the lead for good and pull away for the win. The Bulldogs dominated the boards, outrebounding the Bears, 34-16. Drake drained a season-high 14 3-pointers at a 58.3 percent clip.
Gulley (14.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) leads the Bears in scoring. Marcus Marshall (14.3 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures for the team, but he is out indefinitely after undergoing right knee surgery. In Marshall's absence, Ruder (8.7 ppg) is the second-best scoring option, although he is only shooting 41.4 percent from the field. The Bears will need others to step up going forward, especially if they hope to maintain their pace on offense as they rank fourth in the MVC in scoring (72.7 ppg). They are giving up 71.6 ppg, which is next-to-last in the league.
The high-scoring Bears hope that their success this season at home continues and that they can solve the stingy defense of the Braves. Given Bradley's road woes, expect Missouri State to grab another win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri State 75, Bradley 65
02/01 11:51:59 ET