WICHITA, Kan. – Bradley senior center Sam Singh followed a Sam Maniscalco miss with 0.9 seconds remaining, lifting the visiting Braves (8-5, 2-0 MVC) to a 60-58 Missouri Valley Conference win at Wichita State (6-7, 0-2 MVC) Wednesday night as a sold-out Charles Koch Arena. The win gives the Braves their first 2-0 start in The Valley since the 1995-96 season as well as consecutive wins at Wichita State for the first time since 1969 and 1970.
Senior forward Theron Wilson, a native of Topeka, Kan., enjoyed a solid homecoming in his first Bradley game in his home state by scoring a season-high 18 points. Wilson, who made 8-of-8 free throw attempts, added two assists, a blocked shot and two steals and also helped limit The Valley’s leading rebounder, Ramon Clemente, to just five boards. Freshman point guard Eddren McCain chipped in 11 points and five rebounds, while Singh added a season-best 10 points and Maniscalco scored eight, all in the second half. Wichita State freshman guard Toure’ Murry scored 14 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, while freshman center Garrett Stutz scored 10 of his 14 in the first period.
Bradley turned in another solid defensive performance and improved to 8-0 this season when limiting the opposition to fewer than 70 points. The Braves also outrebounded The Valley’s top rebounding team, 31-26.
The Braves got off to a slow start, falling behind 11-4 on Stutz’s third basket of the game 4-minutes, 22-seconds into the contest. Singh, who scored a season-high 10 points, countered with a wide open layup on a pick-and-roll play with Maniscalco to start a 11-0 Bradley run. A Chris Roberts 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock gave Bradley its first lead, 13-12, with 11:22 left in the half. Roberts scored again on a layup with 8:13 left in the period to give the Braves a 17-15 lead and start another 8-0 run. Bradley eventually built its lead to a game-high 12 points, 32-20, when Wilson knocked down a pair of free throws with 4:07 left in the half.
After taking a 36-27 lead into halftime, Bradley’s advantage hovered around seven points for most of the second half until a Graham Hatch 3-pointer, which was originally signaled as a long 2-pointer, pulled the Shockers to within 50-46 with 7:36 remaining. The basket and subsequent scorekeeping change during the next deadball ignited the home crowd, leading to a dramatic finish.
Both teams went scoreless until Wilson, fighting through a leg cramp, made two more free throws with 4:42 left for a 52-46 advantage. Murry exchanged a pair of 3-pointers and 1-of-2 free throws with a Maniscalco basket to get the Shockers within 54-51. Maniscalco then made two free throws and Wilson countered a Clemente layup with one of his own for a 58-53 Bradley lead with 1:48 remaining. Stutz scored inside to again pull the Shockers within three, 58-55, and after Singh turned the ball over in the lane, Murry drained a transition 3-pointer to complete Wichita State’s comeback, pulling the Shockers into a 58-58 tie with 26 seconds left.
The Braves were able to hold the ball for the last shot and Maniscalco eventually drove down the lane for a tough layup attempt over the 7-foot Stutz. Singh took advantage of the help defense and followed Maniscalco’s drive to the basket, putting him in perfect position for the follow layup. After using three timeouts, Wichita State’s length-of-the-court inbounds pass was knocked out of bounds by Bradley on the far sideline with two-tenths of a second remaining. And when the Shockers were unable to connect the pass on a lob to the basket, Bradley walked off with its first win in a Valley road opener since 1996.
Bradley will return to the road Saturday night when the Braves will visit Missouri State for a 7:05 p.m. contest at the new John Q. Hammons Arena. Saturday’s game will be televised in the Peoria area by Comcast (Channel 74). The Braves will follow with a two-game home stand against Interstate 74 rival Illinois State Tuesday and Valley preseason favorite Creighton Jan. 10. Both games will tip at 7:05 p.m. at Carver Arena.