|Bradley Braves (15-12, 7-8 MVC) at Drake Bulldogs (11-15, 5-10 MVC)|
• Bradley will play three of its final four regular-season games on the road, beginning with a Wednesday night visit to Drake.
• The teams have not met since Bradley’s 67-57 victory in the MVC opener Dec. 29, a 51-day gap in between the two games of the series.
• The Braves followed that victory with a 66-60 victory Jan. 2 at Southern Illinois, but have dropped six straight road games since that win in Carbondale.
• In fact, Bradley has not won a Valley road game outside of Carbondale since Feb. 6, 2010 at Evansville (83-63), a streak that has now reached 24 games.
• The Braves have not won any game west of Peoria since downing Drake, 63-48, in the first round of the 2011 MVC Tournament in St. Louis, a 13-game drought.
• Bradley’s 80 wins against Drake are the most against any opponent in program history, as are the 28 road wins the Braves own in the series.
137th Meeting | Bradley leads 80-56
• Bradley will resume the most-played series in program history when the Braves visit Drake Wednesday night for the 137th meeting in the all-time series.
• Bradley owns an 80-56 record against the Bulldogs.
• The Braves snapped a 3-game series losing streak Dec. 29 with a 67-57 win at Carver Arena.
• Since 1993, in the 10 years Bradley has won the first meeting of the season against Drake, the Braves have gone on to complete the sweep in the second meeting nine times, including each of the last three opportunities.
Recapping the First Meeting
at Bradley 67, Drake 57 | Dec. 29, 2012 | Carver Arena
• Bradley’s backcourt combo of Walt Lemon, Jr. (23 points) and Dyricus Simms-Edwards (20) combined for 43 points and suffocating defense, leading the Braves to 67-57 win against Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams Saturday night at Carver Arena.
• While harassaing Drake scoring leader Ben Simons into 4-for-18 shooting, Simms-Edwards made off with eight steals, the most by any Valley player in a game since 2006.
• Drake entered the game second nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (.435) and fourth in 3-pointers per game (9.5), but the Bulldogs made just 5-of-27 (.185) attempts.
• Bradley used 13 steals to force 18 Drake turnovers for a 23-6 edge in points off turnovers.
• The 51 days in between meetings in the series against Drake is Bradley’s longest in a Valley series since a 52-day gap between Wichita State games in 2009-10.
• The Braves used that gap to earn a split against the Shockers, bouncing back from an 81-69 loss Jan. 3 in Wichita with a 75-73 win Feb. 24 at Carver Arena.
• Though the gap in calendar days is wider than that Wichita State series, Bradley played 13 Valley games in between the Shocker matchups in 2010.
• Bradley has played 14 Valley games in between this year’s Drake contests.
• The greatest gap between games in the Bradley-Drake series occurred in 1999-2000, 58 days between a 66-63 loss Dec. 19, 1999 in Des Moines and a 55-40 win Feb. 16, 2000 in Peoria.
On The Line
• With a win Wednesday, Bradley can even its Valley record with two games left in the league race and take a major step toward avoiding the first round of next month’s MVC Tournament.
• A win would ensure the Braves will finish no worse than eighth in the final league standings, ahead of both Drake and Southern Illinois.
• A loss Wednesday at Drake, however, could drop the Braves into a tie for seventh and would keep alive the possibility of finishing the year at the bottom of the league standings.
Bradley’s Blossoming Star
• Bradley junior guard Walt Lemon, Jr. is emerging as a 1st-Team All-Missouri Valley Conference caliber player.
• For the season, Lemon is averaging 15.1 ppg, 3.5 apg and 2.1 spg and is shooting 50.0 percent (128-256) from inside the 3-point arc.
• In the 15 Valley games, Lemon’s numbers are even better: 17.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.2 spg while shooting 38.0 percent from 3-point range and 50.0 percent from inside the arc.
• The 6-foot-3 point guard also leads the team lead with 90 defensive rebounds overall and 60 defensive boards in league play.
Last Time Out
at Bradley 80, Indiana State 68 | Feb. 16, 2013 | Carver Arena
• Bradley got a huge lift off the bench as regular starter Dyricus Simms-Edwards shook off back spasms to put up 13 points, four assists and four steals in a rare reserve role, while freshman guard Ka’Darryl Bell turned in his best game as a Brave with a career-best 10 points in the final 6:54 to go along with his four steals.
• Bradley shot 60 percent (15-25) in the second half, outrebounded the Sycamores 21-11 after the break and forced 12 of Indiana State’s 21 turnovers in the second half.
• The Braves outscored their visitors 44-22 in the paint, 28-16 off turnovrs and 17-8 in second-chance points.
• Walt Lemon Jr. and Tyshon Pickett both scored 17 points to pace Bradley.
• After going six years without improving its win total from one year to the next, Bradley’s current 8-win improvement over last year is sixth-best in the nation through games of Feb. 18:
Team 2011-12 2012-13 +W’s
Bryant 2-28 16-8 +14
Towson 1-31 15-13 +14
Canisius 5-25 17-10 +12
Santa Clara 8-22 19-8 +11
Arizona State 10-21 19-7 +9
Bradley 7-25 15-11 +8
Illinois-Chicago 8-22 15-11 +7
Loyola-Chicago 7-23 14-12 +7
• After enduring a 2-16 Valley record in 2011-12, Bradley already has improved its league win total by five with a 7-8 MVC record.
• The improvement is Bradley’s best since the 2004-05 Braves jumped from 6-12 in the league to 11-7 in 2005-06.
• Bradley has experienced at least a +5-win improvement nine times in its 61 years of Valley membership, but it has been 20 years (1993-94, +7) since the Braves improved by at least six games in league play.
• Not only do Bradley guards Walt Lemon, Jr. and Dyricus Simms-Edwards combine for 27.6 points per game, they rank among The Valley’s top four backcourt combos in rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots.
• In the chart on page 7 of the attached PDF, the Valley backcourts (top two guards by minutes played for each team) are comparatively ranked by combined points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots per game, then listed in rank order according to the average of their combined rankings.
• The Bradley duo averages a 2.6 ranking and is no worse than tied for third in any of the five categories.
Watching The Steals Pace
• Through games of Feb. 18, Bradley leads The Valley and ranks eighth nationally by averaging 9.78 steals per game.
• The Braves remain on pace to break the school single-season record for steals (303), but have fallen off the MVC single-season record pace (345).
Power of the Steal
• Bradley is three games over .500 despite being outscored by 48 points from 3-point range and 17 points from the free throw line, while being outrebounded by 2.6 boards per game.
• Despite the discrepancies, Bradley has attempted 101 more field goal attempts than the opposition.
• The Braves have 102 more steals than the opposition, contributing to a +98 turnover margin.
• Bradley boasts a 457-343 advantage in points off turnovers, a +4.2 points-per-game margin.
• The advantage in points off turnovers more than cancels out Bradley’s 2.4 points per game disadvantage in 3-pointers and free throws.
Steals Per Turnover
• Through Monday’s action, Bradley was tied for third nationally with a 0.81 steals/turnover ratio.
• Bradley has committed no more than 10 turnovers 10 times this season, including six times in the first 15 Valley games.
El Hombre Update
• Senior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards ranks sixth nationally by averaging 2.89 steals/game.
• Simms-Edwards is tied for second nationally with 78 steals, already tied for fourth on Bradley’s single-season list and just six shy of breaking the school record set by Willie Scott (83) in 1982-83.
• Many of Simms-Edwards’ 78 steals to date have happened by simply ripping the ball away from the player he has been guarding, a play described as an “hombre play” by head coach Geno Ford.
MVC Single-Season Steals Top 10
1. 96 Paul Pressey, Tulsa 1980-81
2. 94 Bryan Mullins, SIU 2005-06
92* Dyricus Simms-Edwards, BU 2012-13
3. 92 Nate Green, INS 1999-00
92 Darren Brooks, SIU 2004-05
5. 85 Larry Bird, INS 1978-79
6. 83 Willie Scott, BU 1982-83
7. 82 Hersey Hawkins, BU 1987-88
82 Arnold Bernard, MoSt 1990-91
9. 80 Kevin Ault, MoSt 1998-99
80 Ryan Sears, CU 1999-00
80 Andy Woodley, UNI 2000-01
* based on 2.89 steals per game for 32 games
Bradley Single-Season Steals
1. 83 Willie Scott, Sr. 1982-83
2. 82 Hersey Hawkins, Sr. 1987-88
3. 79 Rob Dye, Jr. 1998-99
4. 78 Dyricus Simms-Edwards, Sr. 2012-13
78 Willie Scott, Jr. 1981-82
Steals Per Turnover II
• While Dyricus Simms-Edwards is tied for second nationally with 78 steals, he is second by averaging 1.95 steals per turnover.
• Simms-Edwards boasts 78 steals against just 40 turnovers, easily the best ratio among Bradley players since steal and turnover records were routinely kept starting in 1980-81.
• The last Brave to play at least 10 minutes per game with more steals than turnovers was Chris Roberts in 2009-10 (47 steals, 44 turnovers).
• Not only is Dyricus Simms-Edwards tied for second nationally with 78 steals, but he has been harassing without fouling.
• At 2.05 steals per personal foul, Simms-Edwards is the only player in the country averaging more than 1.59 steals per foul (Miami’s Shane Larkin is second with 1.59 steals for every personal foul).
• Simms-Edwards has been whistled for just 38 fouls in 27 games, 1.4 per game, helping him remain on the floor for 33.8 minutes per game.
• The Bradley backcourt combo of Dyricus Simms-Edwards (2.89) and Walt Lemon, Jr. (2.15) ranks second nationally by combining to average 5.04 steals per game.
• The duo already has combined for 136 steals this season, the third-best single-season total by a pair of Bradley teammates since steal totals were regularly tracked starting in 1981-82.
• The MVC record for steals in a season by a pair of teammates is 155 in 33 games by the Tulsa duo of Paul Pressey (96) and Mike Anderson (59) in 1980-81.
Single-Season Steals by Bradley Duo
143 1998-99 Rob Dye (79) Eric Roberson (64)
142 1987-88 Hersey Hawkins (82) Anthony Manuel (60)
136 2012-13 D. Simms-Edwards (78) Walt Lemon, Jr. (58)
135 1982-83 Willie Scott (83) Barney Mines (52)
• Senior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards ranks 31st in school history with 1,061 career points.
• Junior guard Walt Lemon Jr. joined the club Saturday and now ranks 46th in school history with 1,009 career points.
Points Off Turnovers
• Bradley leads The Valley by forcing 15.7 turnovers per game.
• Though being outrebounded by 2.6 boards per game, Bradley has attempted 101 more field goals than the opposition (1535-1434) this season.
• Bradley is averaging 16.9 points per game off turnovers and 13.3 points per game in transition.
Battle of the Paint
• Though Bradley’s top two scorers are guards, the Braves outscore the opposition by 7.8 points per game in the paint.
• The Braves have at least doubled-up the opposition in paint points nine times this season, most-recently with a 44-22 edge Saturday.
• Bradley is 14-2 when it outscores the opposition in the paint and 1-10 when the opponents own the paint scoring advantage.
Big Media Numbers
• Dave Snell is in his 34th season as the radio Voice of the Braves and has participated in 1,042 Bradley Basketball game broadcasts, all in succession, on 1470 WMBD since taking over play-by-play duties for the 1979-80 season.
• Peoria Journal Star beat writer Dave Reynolds has covered 705 consecutive Bradley games since taking over the beat for the start of the 1990-91 season.
• In addition, public address announcer Paul Herzog has announced 540 Bradley Basketball home games.
• Like the rest of The Valley, Bradley will take a break from the conference race to participate in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series Saturday when the Braves visit UIC for a 3 p.m. game at UIC Pavilion.
• Saturday’s game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
• Following Saturday’s game, the Braves will close the regular season with a pair of MVC games: Feb. 27 at home versus Creighton and March 2 at Missouri State.