PEORIA, Ill. - Bradley senior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards led four Braves in double-figures with 18 points and the hosts pulled out a 69-66 win against visiting Southern Illinois (8-9, 1-5 MVC) Tuesday night at Carver Arena.
Bradley snapped a season-long, 3-game losing streak and earned the regular-season series sweep against Southern Illinois for the first time since the 2000-01 season and any Missouri Valley Conference opponent since the 2008-09 campaign (Drake and Evansville).
The Braves (11-7, 3-3 MVC) also got 16 points and a career-high-tying eight assists from junior guard Walt Lemon Jr., 15 points from junior forward Tyshon Pickett and 11 points and a team-best seven rebounds off the bench from senior center Will Egolf. Egolf, who missed the last four games due to suspension, equaled a career-best by draining three 3-pointers, blocked four shots, recorded two steals and drew a charge in his return to action.
Desmar Jackson paced Southern Illinois with 21 points, while Jeff Early made 8-of-9 field goal attempts in a 17-point effort, while also pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds in a double-double effort. Anthony Beane, Jr. chipped in with 13 points for the Salukis.
Bradley entered the game 10-1 on the season when outscoring the opposition in the paint and the Braves had outscored their first 17 opponents by 171 points in the lane on the season, but Southern Illinois dominated inside with a 34-18 paint scoring advantage. The Salukis shot 54.9 percent (28-51) from the field for the game.
Bradley, which came in shooting just 30.8 percent from 3-point territory and averaging just 4.6 triples per game, made 8-of-22 (.364) attempts from behind the arc Tuesday and outscored the Salukis (2-for-12) by 18 points from long range. The Braves also made 15-of-19 free throw attempts to outscore SIU (8-14) by seven from the stripe.
Southern Illinois stopped the run by employing a 2-3 zone and the move allowed the Salukis to pull back even, 56-56, on a Beane layup with 6:35 remaining. Bradley shot SIU out of the zone with consecutive 3-pointers from Simms-Edwards and Lemon, then claimed its biggest lead of the game, 66-58, on a Pickett putback basket with 3:04 left.
Refusing to go away, however, Southern Illinois pulled to within 67-66 on an awkward drive by Jackson with 23 seconds left. Lemon sank two free throws with 16.5 seconds left for the final margin, then the Braves successfully defended SIU's final possession. Kendall Brown-Surles first missed badly on a 3-point try, but the hard rebound went out of bounds off of the Braves in front of the Salukis bench with 3 seconds left. Jackson air-balled his tying attempt to end the game.
Bradley will conclude its brief, 2-game home stand Saturday by hosting Missouri State in a 1 p.m. game at Carver Arena. Halftime promotions include a shot for a car from Lexus of Peoria and a Baby Race, while a quartet of Braves will be available for postgame autographs.