PEORIA, Ill. -- Junior guard Curt Hanson scored a game-high 24 points and senior center Jeff Skemp added 20 points, leading NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Platteville (1-0 preseason) to an 84-79 upset at Bradley (1-1 preseason) Sunday evening at Carver Arena. The loss is Bradley’s first-ever to a college opponent in exhibition play as the Braves fall to 18-1 all-time in preseason exhibitions against collegiate programs and suffer their first-ever preseason loss in 19 exhibition games under seventh-year head coach Jim Les.
Junior guard Mike Shaw, who scored 15 points off the bench, delivered the dagger for the Pioneers by draining a deep 3-pointer from the left wing with 39 seconds left to stretch a five-point lead to 81-73. Bradley had sliced a game-high 14-point deficit, 74-60, with 7:02 remaining to 76-71 on a Chris Roberts baseline drive with 3:11 left, but could not complete the rally. Senior forward Theron Wilson appeared to trim the deficit to 78-75 with 2:04 remaining, but was whistled for a travel on his slicing move into the lane, then was hit again with a charge foul in the paint on Bradley’s next possession. The Braves had a third opportunity to pull within one possession, but David Collins was called for an illegal screen trying to free Sam Maniscalco for a 3-point attempt with 1:10 left, setting the stage for Shaw’s back-breaking shot.
Wisconsin-Platteville, which will enter the season ranked as high as seventh in the preseason Division III national polls, put up tremendous shooting numbers last season, and with their top nine scorers returning, the Pioneers backed up those numbers Sunday. Although Bradley made seven more field goals than its visitors, UW-Platteville hit 11-of-20 (.550) of its 3-point tries and sank its first 20 free throw attempts en route to a 23-for-26 (.885) effort from the stripe. Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field -- Bradley 32-for-63 (.508) and UW-Platteville 25-for-47 (.532) -- but the Braves made only 11-of-20 free throw attempts and 4-of-13 (.308) 3-point tries, allowing the Pioneers to outscore them by a combined 33 points from the two lines.
Senior center David Collins paced the Braves with 21 points and nine rebounds. The 7-footer made 10-of-11 field goal attempts to eclipse his official career scoring high of 14 points set Dec. 1, 2007 versus
Bradley played 11 players Sunday and 10 scored, including all five newcomers to see action. Junior guard Andrew Warren, who missed the first month of the preseason while recovering from a broken foot, was Bradley’s only scoreless player, shooting 0-for-3 from the field in his 12 minutes off the bench. Freshman point guard Eddren McCain led the Braves in assists for the second straight exhibition, finishing with a game-high six helpers, while Brown was the team’s second-leading rebounder by collecting six caroms.
The Braves will open their 105th basketball season Friday by hosting Illinois-Chicago in a 7:05 p.m. tip at Carver Arena. The game has been labeled a White Out and fans are encouraged to wear white. To enhance the look of the arena, everyone in attendance will receive a white Bradley Basketball t-shirt, courtesy of Maui Jim Sunglasses,