What Went Down: No. 5 seed Bradley (20-12, 9-9) took on No. 4 seed Drake March 2 in the second quarterfinal match up of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. After a game of runs in which neither team could pull away, Bradley’s Donte Thomas scored a putback layup with 1.2 seconds left to give the Braves the 63-61 victory in dramatic fashion.
Analysis: It seemed at several times Drake was close to pulling away in the first half. The Bulldogs led the game for 23:19 compared to Bradley’s 10:39 and took a 35-27 lead into halftime. Drake was led by the three-point marksmanship of senior guard Timmer Reed and Graham Woodward, who shot 3-9 and 3-8 from beyond the arc, respectively. Reed led all Bulldog scorers with 18 points.
Every time it seemed Drake was going to pull away, Bradley answered to keep the game close, including a 12-0 run to start the second half. Most times, that answer was in the form of guard Darrell Brown. The versatile Brown led all scorers with 24 points, mixing in four three-pointers with explosive drives. Brown led the Braves to a 46-40 lead with 12:20 remaining.
After Drake tied the game at 50-50 with just over ten minutes left, both teams remained neck and neck the rest of the way, neither squad gaining a lead larger than three.
Thomas’ last-second putback finally broke the gridlock in Bradley’s favor. Thomas tallied 13 points and 14 rebounds as Bradley outrebounded Drake 39-28.
What’s Next? Bradley will play in the semifinals against Loyola March 3 at 2:30 p.m.