PEORIA, Ill. - Bradley senior forward Taylor Brown converted an old-fashioned 3-point play with 4.6 seconds remaining, lifting the Braves (2-0) to a 66-65 victory versus Southeast Missouri State (1-2) Wednesday night in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 4,340 at Renaissance Coliseum.
Featuring a Throwback Night promotion that included a reunion of the 1981-82 Braves team that won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship and NIT title, Wednesday's game was Bradley's first against a NCAA Division I opponent played on campus since 1982. Renaissance Coliseum is a $50 million facility that opened in 2010 and serves as the home court for the Bradley women's basketball and volleyball teams.
Sophomore center Jordan Prosser led five Braves in double-figures with a career-best 15 points and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. Junior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards added 13 points, sophomore guard Walt Lemon, Jr. chipped in with 11, while Brown and freshman forward Shayok Shayok both scored 10. Marcus Brister led Southeast Missouri State with 19 points, but his attempt at the buzzer hit off the rim to end the game. Leon Powell, who led the nation in field goal percentage last season, made 7-of-8 field goal attempts in a 15-point effort and forward Tyler Stone added 11 points and seven boards for the Redhawks.
A tight game throughout - nine ties and 12 lead changes - Southeast Missouri State claimed the largest lead for either team, 55-49, on a Corey Wilford 3-pointer with 10:53 remaining. Bradley answered with a 9-0 run, beginning with a Shayok 3-pointer, and held SEMO without a field goal for nearly six minutes.
Brister broke the dry spell with a layup to pull the Redhawks within 59-58 with 4:59 left and Powell gave the lead back to SEMO, 64-63, by scoring inside with 1:31 remaining. Marland Smith's free throw with 20 seconds remaining pushed the lead to 65-63, but he missed the second attempt.
After a Bradley timeout, the Braves worked the ball to Brown at the right elbow and he drove down the right side of the lane before banking home a fade-away jumper to tie the game. Michael Porter was whistled for a foul on the shot and Brown calmly sank the go-ahead free throw for the game's final point.
Outrebounded 20-13 in the first half, Bradley won the battle of the boards in the second half and finished the game within one, 31-30. The Braves shot 55.3 percent (26-47) from the field and recorded 17 assists on their 26 baskets. Southeast Missouri State shot 48.2 percent (27-56) from the floor, but the Redhawks made only 7-of-17 (.412) free throw attempts.
Bradley will continue its season-opening and season-long 4-game home stand Saturday with a return to its regular home court at the Peoria Civic Center's Carver Arena for a matchup against North Dakota. The Braves will wrap up the home stand Tuesday against Wofford in the second round of the Chicago Invitational Challege. Tickets for both games range from $8-20, based on location, and are available at the Renaissance Coliseum Box Office, Carver Arena Box Office, all TicketMaster outlets and online at www.BradleyBraves.com.