|Creighton Bluejays (22-7, 11-5 MVC) at Bradley Braves (16-13, 7-9 MVC)
|| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2012 | 7 p.m.
|| Peoria, Ill. | Carver Arena (11,168)
|| WAOE/KMT-2 | Brian Bedo (pbp) and Danny Adams (analyst)
|| 1470 WMBD | Dave Snell, Chad Kleine and Dan DiOrio
|| Live Video ($$$) | Live Audio (Free) | Live Stats
|| Creighton leads 45-41 | Bradley leads 25-16 at home
|| Bradley Packet (PDF) | Creighton Packet (PDF)
• Bradley will host preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Creighton in its regular-season home finale Wednesday night, the final regular-season home game in the careers of four Bradley seniors: Jake Eastman, Will Egolf, Milos Knezevic and Dyricus Simms-Edwards.
• The Braves bring a 12-3 home record into Wednesday’s game and will be trying to secure a 13th regular-season home win for just the seventh time in Carver Arena’s 31-year history.
• Bradley needs one more victory to secure a winning record for the first time since 2009-10 (16-15).
• Wednesday’s game will impact the MVC race as Bradley remains two games out of fourth place, while Creighton is one game behind league-leading Wichita State.
• Wednesday’s game will be the 250th in Bradley head coach Geno Ford’s 8-year college head coaching career.
• In his eighth year overall and second-year at Bradley, Geno Ford will work his 250th game as a college head coach Wednesday night when the Braves host Creighton.
• Ford enters Wednesday’s game with a 142-107 (.570) record as a collegiate head coach.
Last Time Out
Bradley 63, at Illinois-Chicago 62 | Feb. 23, 2013 | UIC Pavillion
• Bradley guard Walt Lemon Jr. scored a game-high 22 points, but his pass to Jake Eastman with the clock winding down led to the winning basket with 0.9 seconds left, lifting the Braves to a 63-62 win at UIC in the final Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters.
• Bradley trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half and faced an 11-point deficit with 5:41 remaining.
• Dyricus Simms-Edwards scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, while Tyshon Pickett finished with 10 points and six rebounds, an effort highlighted by two offensive boards and four 2nd-chance points in the final 2:13, each giving the Braves the lead.
• The Braves improved to 4-1 all-time in the series versus UIC.
87th Meeting | Creighton leads 45-41 | Bradley leads 25-16 at home
• Wednesday’s game will be the 87th meeting in the all-time series between Bradley and Creighton and the 79th meeting since the Bluejays joined The Valley for the 1975-76 season.
• Bradley is 25-16 at home against the Bluejays, though Creighton is 8-3 in its last 11 visits to Carver Arena.
• Despite Bradley’s overall series lead, Creighton has won four of the last five meetings since 3rd-year head coach Greg McDermott took over the program to start the 2010-11 season and 25-of-32 matchups since the start of the 1998-99 campaign.
Home Away From Home
• Creighton All-American forward Doug McDermott has found Carver Arena a friendly road environment in his first two visits to Peoria.
• As a freshman, McDermott ripped down 17 rebounds Feb. 1, 2011 at Carver Arena, a total that remains his career best, in a 69-61 Creighton win.
• Last season, McDermott scored a Carver Arena opponent record 44 points Jan. 7, 2012 in a 92-83 Creighton win.
• McDermott’s 44 points and 18 field goals made last year at Carver Arena remain his career-best efforts.
What to Watch For
• Bradley can earn its 17th win of the season Wednesday, which would secure a final winning record for the first time since 2009-10 (16-15) and would represent its most wins in a season since 2008-09 (21-15).
• With a win, Bradley would complete the regular season with a 13-3 home record for its largest home victory total since 2008-09 (14-4) and the most regular-season home wins since 2006-07 (13-3).
• With a win, Bradley would stay in the hunt for a top-half finish in the MVC standings and maintain at least a tie for sixth place with one game remaining in the regular-season.
• With a win, Bradley would end a 3-game losing streak against Creighton and earn a regular-season split against the Bluejays for the first time since 2010-11 and just the fourth time since 2000-01.
• With a loss, Bradley would suffer its ninth regular-season sweep by Creighton in this millennium.
• With a loss, Bradley could fall into a 3-way tie for seventh in the league standings with the possibility of becoming the ninth seed for next week’s MVC Men’s Basketball Championship.
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 15.5 ppg, 3.5 apg and 2.3 spg and is shooting 50.0 percent (141-282) from inside the 3-point arc.
• In the 16 Valley games, Lemon’s numbers are even better: 17.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.3 spg while shooting 35.8 percent from 3-point range and 50.3 percent from inside the arc.
• The 6-foot-3 point guard also leads the team lead with 102 defensive rebounds overall and 67 defensive boards in league play.
• After going six years without improving its win total from one year to the next, Bradley’s current 9-win improvement over last year is sixth-best in the nation through games of Feb. 24:
Team 2011-12 2012-13 +W’s
Bryant 2-28 18-9 +16
Towson 1-31 16-13 +15
Canisius 5-25 17-11 +12
Santa Clara 8-22 20-9 +12
Arizona State 10-21 20-8 +10
Bradley 7-25 16-13 +9
Florida Int’l 8-21 15-12 +7
Illinois-Chicago 8-22 15-13 +7
Loyola-Chicago 7-23 14-14 +7
UC Davis 5-26 12-14 +7
• After enduring a 2-16 Valley record in 2011-12, Bradley already has improved its league win total by five with a 7-9 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.
Watching The Steals Pace
• Through Monday, Bradley ranks seventh nationally by averaging 9.76 steals per game.
• With 283 steals to date, Bradley remains on pace to break the school single-season record, but has fallen off the MVC season record pace.
MVC Steals in a Season
1. 345 Tulsa 1983-84
2. 337 Drake 1993-94
3. 322 Southern Illinois 2004-05
4. 321 Drake 2003-04
312* Bradley 2012-13
5. 303 Bradley 1985-86
303 Bradley 1981-82
* based on 9.76 steals per game for 32 games
Power of the Steal
• Bradley is three games over .500 despite being outscored by 47 points from 3-point range and 37 points from the free throw line, while being outrebounded by 2.4 boards per game.
• Bradley still has attempted 121 more field goal attempts than the opposition.
• The Braves have 110 more steals than the opposition, contributing to a +100 turnover margin.
• Bradley boasts a 492-367 advantage in points off turnovers, a +4.3 points-per-game margin.
• The advantage in points off turnovers more than cancels out Bradley’s 2.9 points per game disadvantage in 3-pointers and free throws.
Steals Per Turnover
• Through Monday’s action, Bradley ranked 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.
• Bradley’s active career scoring leader, senior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards ranks 30th in school history with 1,193 career points.
• Bradley’s 2012-13 season scoring leader, junior guard Walt Lemon Jr. has climbed to 43rd on the school’s career scoring list with 1,050 points.
• Lemon need just eight points to jump up four more spots on the all-time scoring list.
• Not only do Bradley guards Walt Lemon, Jr. and Dyricus Simms-Edwards combine for 28.2 points per game, they rank among The Valley’s top four backcourt combos in rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots.
• In the chart below, 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 2.3 ranking and is no worse than tied for foruth in any of the five categories.
Points and Assists Leader
• Bradley junior point guard Walt Lemon, Jr. leads the Braves in scoring (15.5 ppg) and assists (3.5 apg).
• Lemon is trying to be the first Bradley player since Jerome Robinson in 2000-01 (16.9 ppg, 2.6 apg) to lead the Braves in both categories.
• The same player has led the Braves in both scoring and assists just three times since Bradley began tracking assists in the mid-60’s.
Leading the Braves in Scoring and Assists
Pts. & A Leader Year Pts PPG A APG
Jerome Robinson 2000-01 508 16.9 78 2.6
Anthony Manuel 1988-89 569 21.1 216 8.0
Sam Simmons 1971-72 555 21.3 87 3.3
Historic Stat Stuffer
• Walt Lemon, Jr. enters Saturday’s game with 449 points, 114 rebounds, 102 assists and 66 steals.
• With at least three games remaining in the season, Lemon needs to record four more steals and average 17.0 ppg to join Hersey Hawkins (1987-88) as the only players in school and MVC history to score 500 points, snare 100 boards, dish out 100 assists and make off with 70 steals in a season.
MVC 500 Points, 100 Reb., 100 Assists, 60 Steals
Player Year Pts. Reb. A S
Colt Ryan, UE 2011-12 656 134 105 60
Hersey Hawkins 1987-88 1125 241 111 82
Hersey Hawkins 1985-86 656 200 104 66
El Hombre Update
• Simms-Edwards has become the third player in program history to record at least 80 steals in a season and he needs just three more to break Willie Scott’s 1982-83 single-season school record.
• He also has climbed to ninth on The Valley’s single-season steals list.
• Many of Simms-Edwards’ 81 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
3. 92 Nate Green, INS 1999-00
92 Darren Brooks, SIU 2004-05
5. 85 Larry Bird, INS 1978-79
7. 82 Hersey Hawkins, BU 1987-88
82 Arnold Bernard, MoSt 1990-91
Bradley Single-Season Steals
2. 82 Hersey Hawkins, Sr. 1987-88
Steals Per Turnover II
• While Dyricus Simms-Edwards ranks fifth nationally with 81 steals, he also is fourth by averaging 1.76 steals per turnover.
• Simms-Edwards boasts 81 steals against just 46 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).
Bradley Single-Season Steals-to-Turnover
1. 1.76 D. Simms-Edwards 81-46 2012-13
2. 1.67 Danny Adams 25-15 2006-07
3. 1.38 Greg Jones 11-8 1987-88
4. 1.21 Bobby Ford 29-24 1980-81
5. 1.07 Chris Roberts 47-44 2009-10
6. 1.01 Eric Roberson 70-69 1999-00
• Not only is Dyricus Simms-Edwards rank fifth nationally with 81 steals, but he has been harassing without fouling.
• At 1.93 steals per personal foul, Simms-Edwards is the only player in the country averaging more than 1.50 steals per foul (Miami’s Shane Larkin is second with 1.46 steals for every personal foul).
• Simms-Edwards has been whistled for just 42 fouls in 29 games, 1.4 per game, helping him remain on the floor for 34.0 minutes per game.
• The Bradley backcourt combo of Dyricus Simms-Edwards (2.79) and Walt Lemon, Jr. (2.28) ranks second nationally by combining to average 5.07 steals per game.
• The Bradley duo has combined for 147 steals - 81 by Simms-Edwards and 66 by Lemon - already the school record and the second-best mark in Valley history for total steals by two teammates.
• 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 MVC Duos
155 1980-81 TU Paul Pressey (96) Mike Anderson (59)
147 2012-13 BU Simms-Edwards (81) Walt Lemon, Jr. (66)
145 1999-00 INS Nate Green (92) Michael Menser (53)
145 1978-79 INS Larry Bird (85) Carl Nicks (60)
Battle of the Paint
• Though Bradley’s top two scorers are guards, the Braves outscore the opposition by 7.5 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 Feb. 16 vs. Indiana State.
• Bradley is 15-2 when it outscores the opposition in the paint and 1-11 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 1,044 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 707 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.
• Bradley will close out its 109th regular season Saturday by visiting MVC rival Missouri State for a 7:05 p.m. game at JQH Arena.
• While Bradley is celebrating Senior Night Wednesday versus Creighton, Saturday’s game will be the final regular-season home game for Missouri State senior guard Anthony Downing.
• Bradley is 4-17 all-time at Missouri State, including 1-3 with a 3-game losing streak at JQH Arena.
• In the only previous March regular-season game between the two programs, Bradley earned a 79-72 victory against the Bears March 1, 2004 at Carver Arena.