PEORIA, Ill. – Bradley junior guard Chris Roberts gave himself an early birthday present and the 5,007 fans in attendance a moment to remember as he tossed in a 75-foot heave at the buzzer to give Bradley a stunning, 76-75, victory against Oakland (23-13) in the quarterfinals of the inaugural CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament Monday night at Carver Arena. Bradley (20-14) will host the Pacific in the semifinals Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Carver Arena, Bradley’s 13th appearance in the semifinals of a postseason tournament in program history.
A first-year transfer from Navarro College, the 6-foot-4 Roberts will celebrate his 21st birthday Tuesday.
Bradley battled back from a 73-68 deficit with 1-minute, 10-seconds remaining and forged a 73-73 tie when sophomore guard Sam Maniscalco scored on a tough drive with 18 seconds left. Oakland worked the clock down to 3.3 seconds before calling its final timeout. Off a baseline inbounds play, Oakland point guard Johnathan Jones caught a lob pass in the lane and hit a fadeaway jumper for the apparent game-winner with 0.9 seconds remaining. With Bradley also out of timeouts, senior forward Theron Wilson inbounded the ball to Roberts, who fired a two-handed shot from the free throw line extended on the right wing that banked in for the miraculous winner. Replays confirmed Roberts released the shot with 0.2 seconds left on the clock.
Maniscalco led four Braves in double-figures with a team-high 20 points, while Roberts and Wilson each finished with 16 and junior guard Dodie Dunson chipped in 12 points off the bench. Wilson added a game-high 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. Oakland guard Erik Kangas scored a game-high 23 points. The Grizzlies also got 20 points from center Keith Benson and 11 from forward Will Hudson, while Jones dished out 12 assists.
The game featured eight ties and eight lead changes. Oakland built a game-high 11-point lead 23-12, only to see the Braves charge right back with a 14-2 run to claim a 26-25 lead with 5:00 left in the half. Neither team led by more than six points the rest of the way.
Bradley shot 58.3 percent (28-48) from the field, including an 8-for-15 (.533) effort from 3-point range, while Oakland hit 27-of-57 (.474) field goal attempts, but just 5-for-19 (.263) from behind the arc. The Grizzlies turned 14 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points.
Bradley has now won at least 20 games for a fourth consecutive season and earned its ninth postseason win in four years. Bradley has won the three combined previous meetings against its two potential CIT semifinal opponents: Idaho (1-0) and Pacific (2-0).
Season-ticket holders may begin claiming their regular-season seats for Wednesday night’s game from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Shea Stadium Box Office. The general public may begin purchasing all open seat Wednesday morning in person at the Shea Stadium Box Office, the Carver Arena Box Office, any other TicketMaster outlet or online at www.BradleyBraves.com. Ticket prices will range from $9-30, based on location, and Bradley once again will offer a 2-for-1 purchasing opportunity for all $9 seat locations.