Bradley (7-19) at Missouri State (15-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 12th, 3:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: JQH Arena (11,000) -- Springfield, Missouri. Television: FSN-MW. Home Record: Bradley 6-7, Missouri St. 7-5. Away Record: Bradley 1-10, Missouri St. 8-4. Neutral Record: Bradley 0-2, Missouri St. 0-2. Conference Record: Bradley 2-12, Missouri St. 8-6. Series Record: Missouri State leads, 29-17.
GAMES NOTES: The Bradley Braves and Missouri State Bears will meet for the second time this season, as the two square off in a Missouri Valley Conference bout this afternoon at JQH Arena in Springfield.
Missouri State escaped with a 51-48 victory when the two squads met back on January 21, and that win pushed the Bears' series advantage to 29-17. Missouri State has won the last three meetings.
Bradley put an end to a six-game losing streak, the team's second-longest of the season, with a win over Indiana State on Wednesday. It was only the second win in MVC action for the Braves, who are last in the conference at 2-12. Bradley will be at home for three of its last four games beginning with Wednesday's bout against Drake.
The earlier win over Bradley began a small winning streak for Missouri State, which has won four of its last six and is coming off back-to-back victories. The Bears are 8-6 in conference, which is tied with Illinois State for third place. Missouri State takes on first-place Wichita State in its next matchup.
The Braves played solid defense to take down Indiana State, holding the Sycamores to 33.3 percent shooting and limiting them to a mere 17 points in the first half. Bradley shot 42.2 percent from the floor and outscored ISU 25-12 from the free-throw line en route to the victory.
Bradley hasn't been the worst offensive team in the conference this season, as it averages 63.3 ppg while shooting 41.5 percent from the floor. However, both those marks are better than only one team in the conference. Senior forward Taylor Brown has been carrying the offense most of the season, as he nets 15.9 ppg so it was a surprise that he was held to only seven points in a rare Bradley win on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Walt Lemon Jr. (11.5 ppg) pushed his scoring average upward by pouring in 26 points in the win over Indiana State. Lemon had been struggling to score before the offensive explosion, averaging just 4.5 points in the four previous games, including a scoreless effort in a loss to Evansville. Dyricus Simms-Edward is the third player averaging in double figures for the Braves (11.5 ppg), while sophomore Jordan Prosser (8.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) leads the team on the glass.
Missouri State picked up a 56-54 victory on the road over Southern Illinois on Wednesday. The Bears led 31-25 at the half, but allowed the Salukis to inch back into the game and take a late lead. Missouri State won the game thanks to a 51.2 percent shooting effort.
Pre-season MVC Player of the Year favorite Kyle Weems leads a slew of double- digit scorers for Missouri State as he is averaging 16.2 ppg while ripping down 7.4 rpg. Weems tallied 14 points and eight rebounds in the win over Southern Illinois, and he scored in double figures in every game since a four- point effort on opening night. Senior center Caleb Patterson (13.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) led the Bears with 18 points against SIU, while Anthony Downing (10.8 ppg) and Jamar Gulley (10.5 ppg) are the other double-digit scorers on the roster. Point guard Michael Bizoukas, who is the conference's leading assist man (5.9 apg), does his part to get his teammates involved, but even with multiple scorers, the Bears only net 67.0 ppg, which ranks them sixth in the 10-team conference.
Missouri State may not be a team that is going to contend for the MVC title this season, but the Bears are far closer to doing so than Bradley. Expect Weems to get the better of Brown in a showdown of two of the league's better offensive performers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri State 68, Bradley 59
02/12 10:32:24 ET