The Braves used a 54-point second half to earn their first Missouri Valley Conference victory of the year. Bradley trailed by 16 points with 17:17 left in the game before embarking on a 20-3 run.
UNI (13-6 overall, 3-4 MVC) was led by a career-high 15 points from sophomore forward Chip Rank. Senior guard Johnny Moran also scored 15 points on the day. Rank and Moran each drained four 3-pointers against the Braves.
Bradley was led by Dyricus Simms-Edwards, who posted a game-high 26 points. Simms-Edwards scored 19 second-half points, including five 3-pointers. Taylor Brown tallied 23 points for the Braves. Brown grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and was 10-of-11 at the free throw line.
The Braves led early by the count of 7-2, but the Panther offense responded quickly with a 7-2 of its own to knot the game at 9-9. Bradley took a 13-12 lead before the Panthers came back with an 11-0 run to open up a 23-13 lead with 8:05 left in the first half. A Moran 3-pointer with 0:57 left in the half game UNI its biggest first-half lead at 14 points, 36-22. BU’s Brown hit a pair of free throws with 0:42 left to make it 36-24, where the game stood at intermission.
UNI started strong in the second half and took a 16-point lead at 44-28 with 17:17 left following a pair of free throws from Moran. However, Bradley then went on a 20-3 run that was capped by an alley-oop dunk to Brown with 10:57 left in the game. Brown’s basket gave Bradley a 48-47 lead, its first advantage in the game since the 10:46 mark of the first half.
The Panthers did not go away as Moran and junior guard Marc Sonnen buried 3-pointers to put UNI back on top 53-50 with 9:46 remaining in the game.
A 12-3 Bradley run gave the Braves a 62-56 lead with 5:05 left. But again, UNI came back and knotted the game at 65-65 on a layup in the lane by junior guard Anthony James.
On the Braves’ ensuing possession, Simms-Edwards buried his sixth 3-pointer of the game to give the lead back to Bradley. A lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Bradley made 10-of-12 free throws in the final 1:19 to take the contest.
UNI will return home on Wednesday to take on the Wichita State Shockers at 7 p.m. in the McLeod Center.
NOTES: Sonnen made a 3-pointer in his 13th straight game … Rank’s previous career-high of 14 points came last season against Drake (1/22/11) … Moran’s four 3-pointers were a season-high … it marks the fifth time this season that Moran has reached double-figure scoring … Anthony James reached double-figure scoring for the 16th time in 19 games this year … UNI won the rebounding battle, 35-33.