The Braves’ basketball winning streak was cut short in northern Iowa
Brian Wardle warned everyone about the pitfalls that can sometimes come with winning streaks.
Bradley’s men’s basketball coach saw his team into action on a Wednesday in a 78-65 loss to Northern Iowa in a Missouri Valley Conference game before 2,655 at McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
“We are capable of beating anyone, but not like we were tonight,” Wardle said. “Hopefully that ignites a fire under our guys. We need to be the chasers and be more aggressive to start the game. I just thought Northern Iowa wanted it a little more tonight.
“With more experience you learn whether you win or lose. The more you can learn after wins, the better. Hopefully we have their attention now.”
Oh, he does.
“We can’t hang our heads in this game,” Bradley winger Jayson Kent said. “If we do this, think this way, we could keep losing. We have a long way to go to Arch Madness.”
Numbers and noise:How Basketball Bradley Manages His Valley Winning Streak
The Braves opened up a 10-3 lead but committed five turnovers in the first six minutes of the game.
He opened the door to several northern Iowa tracks. The Panthers had 19 3-point attempts in the first half, 34 for the game and 12.
They won a paint battle with Noah Carter against BU striker Rienk Mast.
Bradley guard Terry Roberts came out of the gate with eight points in the opening 2:35 of the game, then went scoreless in the first half.
Bradley tied the points in the paint, 30-30, and dominated on the boards, 40-28.
“Northern Iowa was the better team tonight,” Wardle said. “From the jump they were very physical. Very aggressive on ball screen coverage and that shook us up. We hung on for the first 15 minutes but you could tell our energy was dwindling.
“We missed a few open shots, and that kind of got under our skin and frustrated us. We never really responded. I thought we were going to come out in that second half and fight, but we didn’t. we just didn’t have it in us.”
The bottom line?
“With 18 turnovers and 12 3s allowed, you never beat Northern Iowa with that, you never win a road game in our league with that,” Wardle said. “Our turnovers killed us. It fired them up on long runs. I thought everyone had a tough night. We looked exhausted after six minutes of play.”
Consecutive wins and a lesson
Wardle said winning streaks were tough and UNI relied on their experience – while the Braves showed their inexperience, he said.
“That’s where we have to keep growing as a team,” Wardle said. “We’ve shortened those segments during this winning streak, but tonight there were long segments of poor play at both ends of the court for us. They made big runs…we just didn’t very well answered.”
UNI had the accelerator pedal
UNI attempted 16 3s (made five) in the first 12:35 of the game.
Bradley shot 50% from the field, while UNI were at 37.5% with 5:17 to go in the first half, but BU trailed 27-21. BU freshman Connor Hickman hit a 3 with 4:14 left in the half and the deficit was down to one. But Northern Iowa pushed 10-2 to close the half.
Roberts completed a driving lay-up at 15:53 of the second half to put BU within 45-38 on their first points since the third minute of the match.
“We weren’t as physical as we normally are,” said Kent, who had 10 points, five rebounds and five turnovers. “We let it go. We thought because we’ve won four games in a row…we could (relax).”
Northern Iowa got a layup from Bowen Born, a 3 from Trae Berhow and a layup from AJ Green to take a 50-38 lead with 14:10 to go. Berhow hit a 3 with 12:31 left, and Carter stole the ball seconds later and dived for a 60-41 lead.
Then the Panthers got a 3 from Tywhon Pickford — just his seventh all season — to take a 68-45 lead with 9:53 to go on a 25-9 push in a 6:42 span.
“I personally didn’t feel like the game was going away,” Kent said. “Each team is going to have a run. As long as you answer that run, you’ll be fine.”
The Braves cut it to 12 with 3:36 to go, but no closer.
“We were right there,” Kent said. “We just had to get over that bump and we couldn’t do that today. We just have to come in collectively (the next game) and be more mentally composed and respond. It wasn’t Bradley’s basketball today. We have to let people know when we play a game again that Bradley basketball is here.”
Bradley slipped to 12-11 overall and 6-5 in the Valley. Iowa is 12-9 (8-3). …Bradley’s freshman guard Connor Hickman played with a wrapped sore right wrist. Hickman had 8 points on 3-of-6 shooting, including two 3s. He had five turnovers after never producing more than two in a game. …Bradley attacking Rienk Mast had 12 points and eight rebounds. He had reached at least 17 points in seven straight games. … BU guard Terry Roberts had 18 points, with five rebounds, six assists and four turnovers. … The Braves had five points in 58 minutes of Malevy Leons, City Tahvanainen and Mikey Howell. …Northern Iowa got 19 of Trae Berhow (5 of 7 of 3), 19 of Noah Carter (9 of 18 from the field), 18 from AJ Green and 15 of Bowen-born. This foursome went a total of 26 of 49 from the field. … BU guard Riley Burger came in for the last minute or so.
8:49 p.m.: FINAL: Northern Iowa 78, Bradley 65
The Braves’ four-game winning streak, all in the Valley, is snapped in a rematch at Northern Iowa.
8:39 p.m.: Braves rally on a 17-3 run
The Braves led a 17-3 run in 4:54 to cut Northern Iowa’s lead to 73-60 with 3:43 to go.
Terry Roberts had seven of those points, including a layup at the break.
8:30 p.m.: UNI stays hot
Bradley gets a floaty sweater from Terry Roberts at 7:33 and trails 73-50 when the media timeout arrives.
Berhow is 5 of 5 from 3 point range and has 19 points for UNI. Noah Carter has 19 points and six rebounds.
Bradley has 13 points from Roberts and 11 points and six rebounds from Mast. The Braves have 16 turnovers.
8:28 p.m.: A 25-9 race
Trae Berhow hit a 3 with 12:31 left, and Noah Carter stole the ball seconds later and dived for 60-41.
UNI got a 3 from Tywhon Pickford – just their seventh all season – to take a 68-45 lead with 9:53 to go on a 25-9 run over a 6:42 span.
8:19 p.m .: UNI again in series
Bradley missed two shots coming out of media timeout, while Northern Iowa got a layup from Bowen Born, a 3 from Trae Berhow and a layup from AJ Green to take a 50-38 lead with 2:10 to go.
8:11 p.m .: The Braves retract
Malevey Leons and Rienk Mast hit back-to-back goals early in the second half to reduce BU’s deficit to 41-34.
Roberts completed a drive-in layup at 15:58 – his first points since the third minute of the game – to bring Bradley up 45-38.
7:51 p.m.: In numbers
The Braves had nine turnovers in the first half. Guard Terry Roberts had eight points in the opening minutes, fouled twice and was goalless in the final 17:25 of the half.
Bradley forward Rienk Mast with five points at halftime, and the Braves’ shooting went from 50 percent to 39.3 percent in the latter part of the half. BU was only 3 of 14 of 3.
Northern Iowa threw 19 3s (made 7) and guard Trae Berhow had a game-high 10 runs. The Panthers shot 41.9 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3.
7:47 p.m.: HALF-TIME: UNI 37, Bradley 28
The Braves rallied to less than one on a 3 from Connor Hickman with 4:14 left in the half.
But Northern Iowa responded with a 10-2 run to close the half with a 37-28 lead, getting a jumper from Noah Carter as Rienk Mast challenged with 3 seconds left.
7:35 p.m.: Bradley loses 27-21
UNI attempted 16 from 3-point range (made 5) in the first 12:30 of the match.
Bradley shoots 50% from the field while UNI are at 37.5%, but the Braves trail 27-21 after AJ Green’s layup for Northern Iowa with 5:17 left in the first half -time.
7:31 p.m.: Bradley cuts the deficit to four
BU forward Rienk Mast with a layup to put the Braves 25-21 at the media break with 7:19 left in the first half.
7:20 a.m.: Here comes UNI
The Panthers go on a 10-0 run and take a 17-12 lead as Bradley commits five turnovers in the first six minutes of the game.
7:14 p.m.: Roberts opens quickly
Bradley rides to a 10-3 lead, as guard Terry Roberts had eight first points on a 3 and two pull-ups.
7:10 p.m.: Starting compositions
Bradley starts with guards Terry Roberts and Connor Hickman, winger Jayson Kent and forwards Rienk Mast and Malevy Leons.
Northern Iowa has four guards — Green, Heise, Berhow and Pickford — plus forward Carter.
LIVE STATS:Bradley in northern Iowa
Inside Bradley Basketball’s Winning Streak
The Braves have won four straight in the Valley, but don’t think coach Brian Wardle is saying too much.
“We were 1-5. Block it, stay consistent, have championship behaviors every day,” Wardle said. “It’s the same with a winning streak. You start listening to stuff and boom, that’s when you get into a losing streak.”
Click/tap here to learn more on how Bradley played and a preview of the game against Northern Iowa.
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Dave Eminian is the Journal Star’s sports columnist and covers men’s basketball for Bradley, the Rivermen and the Chiefs. He writes the sports column Cleve In The Eve for pjstar.com. Contact him at 686-3206 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.