By: Sammy Stava
One of the best games of Arch Madness Quarterfinal Friday is usually the four vs five game because of two evenly matched teams going at it. That’s what Missouri State and Bradley did for all 40 minutes at the Enterprise Center.
The game came down to the final seconds, but it was Bradley that prevailed to a 61-58 victory. Missouri State senior Jarred Dixon, who already made a half-court buzzer beater earlier this season, couldn’t get a full-court shot to fall after a missed free throw.
“It was a hard-fought game for both teams. I thought both teams really competed out there, played extremely hard, physical game. Proud of our guys’ resiliency again this year,” – Bradley head coach Brian Wardle said after the team’s win.
Resiliency is a good way to put it, because the Braves trailed 29-22 at halftime. “We’re just happy to advance. Survive and advance, that’s this time of year,” – Wardle said.
Junior guard Darrell Brown helped Bradley survive and advance leading the team with 20 points. ‘Darrell, obviously, free-throw shooting was key down the stretch and making free throws for us,” – Wardle said. Brown also finished 10-10 at the free-throw line.
Elijah Childs finished as the second-leading scorer for Bradley with 12 points, but Brian Wardle is more proud of his defensive efforts. “I know he’s got a chip on his shoulder. He wasn’t on the All-Defensive Team. I don’t know if there’s a better guard out there who can guard one through five,” – Wardle said of Childs.
With the win, Bradley has a lot of momentum under their belts having won eight out of their last 10 games. “I mean, we’re just playing some good basketball and doing the things that we know we need every night like defending and rebounding the ball.”
They’ll need to continue that, as Bradley will get No. 1 seed Loyola in the first MVC Semifinal at 2:30 p.m. CT, a re-match of last year’s same round.