The Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) tournament play-in games continued March 2 with the seven seed Bradley University Braves beating the 10 seed Drake University Bulldogs 67-58.
Drake’s roster included one senior, two redshirt juniors and five juniors. But, the Bulldogs lost to an inexperienced Bradley team that gave three of its six first-year players significant playing time.
Neither team had a stellar regular season. Drake’s record was the worst in the MVC, and the Bulldogs ended their season on a nine-game losing streak, finishing with a conference record of 5-13.
The Braves didn’t fare much better, finishing the regular season with a 7-11 conference record. But, the Braves did end its regular season on a three-game winning streak.
Both teams had slow offensive first halves, heading into the locker rooms with Bradley leading 31-26. Neither team shot over 35 percent from the field, and neither team was the clear frontrunner in the contest.
But, Bradley found its rhythm in the second half — shooting over 50 percent — and kept Drake just far enough away to maintain its lead.
The Bulldogs couldn’t figure it out and their sloppiness from the first half carried over to the second. Drake finished the game with 16 turnovers.
Bradley was led by junior forward Donte Thomas, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. First-years Darrell Brown and Koch Bar each contributed 10 points for the Braves.
With the win, the Braves will face the second seed Wichita State University Shockers on March 3 at 6 p.m.