Bradley University is headed to the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament championship for the second year in a row.
The No. 4-seeded Braves defeated No. 8-seeded Drake University 76-66 in the Arch Madness semifinal Saturday afternoon behind 25 points from senior guard Darrell Brown.
Bradley had a 44-35 lead at halftime, but Drake clawed its way back to cut the lead to 52-49 with 11:35 to play. But after Braves head coach Brian Wardle called timeout, they went on a 7-0 run to get the lead back to double digits and never looked back. This is the first time in school history Bradley has advanced to back-to-back title games.
“We knew we had to come out and execute that next possession,” Wardle said after the game. “[It was] just about keep the ball moving, keep spacing and defensively, [we had] to buckle down on a few things, and we did that.
Bradley’s five starters accounted for 69 of the Braves’ 76 points.
Drake sophomore forward Liam Robbins tallied 19 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes before fouling out. Redshirt sophomore guard Roman Penn followed closely behind for the Bulldogs with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
The Braves are slated to play in the Arch Madness championship game March 8 at 1 p.m. against the winner of No. 6-seeded Missouri State University vs. No. 7-seeded Valparaiso University. The game will be broadcast on CBS.