PEORIA, Ill. -- Bradley used its best rebounding game in eight years and improved to 3-0 for the third consecutive year, out-muscling Central Michigan for an 80-70 win Tuesday night at Carver Arena.
Despite playing its third game in five days, Bradley's 50 rebounds were the most by the Braves since snaring 56 against Wichita State Dec. 30, 2005 and the home team's 50-28 rebound margin was the best since a similar +22 margin against Indiana State Jan. 21, 2006.
Senior forward Tyshon Pickett led the charge with 19 points and a career-best 12 rebounds for his second double-double in three games. Auston Barnes, who began his college as a walk-on at Central Michigan from 2010-12, added a double-double of his own with career-highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds, while junior center Chris Blake added a third double-digit rebounder with 10 boards. Even point guard Walt Lemon, Jr. got in on the act by adding eight rebounds to his team-leading 20 points. Omari Grier was Bradley's fourth double-digit scorer with 12 points.
Chris Fowler led Central Michigan with 20 points. John Simons added 14 and a team-best six rebounds for the Chippewas, while Austin Keel chipped in 15 points.
Central Michigan scored the game's first basket, but the 2-0 score would be its only lead of the game. Bradley countered with a 12-2 run, which began, fittingly, with a Barnes putback basket. Pickett scored six points during the run, completing the outburst with a transition layup for a 12-2 Bradley lead with 14:22 left. Bradley's lead fluctuated between seven and 17 points the rest of the night.
With his 15th career 20-point game, Lemon became the 31st player in Bradley history to reach 1,200 career points, pushing his total to 1,201 in his 101st career game.
The Braves will continue its season-opening, five-games-in-10-days flourish by hosting Chicago State in the third round of the Global Sports Invitational at Carver Arena. The 7 p.m. game will start a Braves Basketball double-header in downtown Peoria as the Bradley women will take on Stony Brook immediately following the men's game.