PEORIA, Ill. - Bradley junior guard Sam Maniscalco capped off his first career double-double by sinking the game's two deciding free throws with 11.7 seconds remaining, leading the Braves (15-13, 9-8 MVC) to a 75-73 Senior Night victory versus Missouri Valley Conference rival Wichita State (22-8, 11-6 MVC) Wednesday night at Carver Arena.
Maniscalco scored a game-high 19 points and dished out a career-best 10 assists. The 6-foot guard also was in the right place at the right time when the Shockers could not execute a routine inbounds play from midcourt with 14.1 seconds remaining and in position to play for the game's last shot. Shockers guard Clevin Hannah get to the pass into the backcourt from Graham Hatch and Maniscalco scooped up the loose ball and was fouled by Hannah while attempting a transition layup. The 6-foot guard completed a 7-for-7 night at the line by sinking both attempts.
Wichita State guard Toure' Murry airballed a 3-point try with the clock ticking down, and although J.T. Durley came up with the offensive rebound, the visitors could not get off the putback before the clock expired.
Murry and Hannah shared team-high scoring honors by leading five Shockers in double-figures with 15 points apiece. Durley added a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Hatch and reserve center Garret Stutz both scored 12. Bradley junior guard Andrew Warren scored 18 points and the Braves also received double-digit scoring from reserve forward Taylor Brown (11 points) and freshman guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards (10).
Bradley jumped on the visitors early by racing to a 25-6 lead with 9:53 left in the first half, but the Shockers steadily chipped away at the deficit and eventually took their first lead, 66-65, when Hannah scored in the paint with 5:31 remaining. Wichita State briefly stretched the lead to three points, 70-67, on a Durley bucket with 3:11 remaining, but Simms-Edwards answered with a 3-pointer on Bradley's ensuing possession to forge a 70-70 tie.
Following a Durley turnover, both teams missed 3-point tries before Warren gave the lead back to Bradley, 73-70, by burying a corner triple with 1:06 left. Hannah had the answer, though, hitting a contested 3-pointer from in front of the WSU bench with 44 seconds to go and forge the game's third tie. Simms-Edwards missed a 15-foot jumper from the wing with 23 seconds left, setting the stage for the game's final sequence.
Bradley enjoyed a scorching first half from the field, shooting 57.9 percent (11-19) from the floor, 60 percent (6-10) from 3-point range and 84.6 percent (11-13) from the free throw line, while limiting Wichita State to just 38.5 percent (10-26) from the floor and 25.0 percent (3-12) from 3-point range in the opening half. The Shockers heated up after the break, though, making 15-of-27 (.556) field goal attempts, including 7-of-13 (.538) from 3-point range. Despite cooling slightly in the second half, Bradley still finished the game by shooting 51.1 percent (23-45) from the field, including an 11-for-20 (.550) effort from behind the arc.
By pulling out Wednesday's decision, Bradley guaranteed itself either the fourth or fifth seed and an automatic berth in the quarterfinals of next week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Currently tied for fourth place in the league standings with Creighton (15-14, 9-8 MVC), Bradley will close out the regular season in Omaha Saturday against the Bluejays in a matchup that could be a preview of its quarterfinal game March 5. While the Braves are guaranteed a spot in the 4-5 game, Creighton could finish fourth, fifth or sixth, while the winner of Saturday's Indiana State-Missouri State game also could be Bradley's quarterfinal opponent.