NCAA BK

Bradley can't keep pace with Wichita State

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP)

The Bradley Braves have displayed a knack for recovering nicely after lopsided losses this season.

Coach Geno Ford hopes his players still have it in them after No. 20 Wichita State routed Bradley 73-39 on Saturday night to extend its home winning streak to 19 games.

''That we come back here in a year, that's probably the best thing,'' Ford said. ''We didn't play well enough for me to have a lot of positives to be honest.''

Nick Wiggins led four Shockers in double figures with 12 points and fueled a 16-0 second-half run with three 3-pointers as WSU (19-2, 8-1 Missouri Valley) tightened its grip on sole possession of the Missouri Valley lead.

Walt Lemon Jr. scored 14 points for Bradley (12-9, 4-5), which produced its lowest point total since a 1992 loss to Missouri State.

WSU outrebounded Bradley 44-21 and limited the Braves to 32 percent shooting (15 of 47). The Shockers' 41-16 second-half surge produced Bradley's most one-sided loss of the season, surpassing an 84-53 loss at Northern Iowa.

Reserve Jake White scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Cleanthony Early and Malcolm Armstead each added 10 points for WSU, which dominated the game's final 25 minutes.

''The thing that Wichita State is so good at - probably better than any team in our league - is when they smell some blood in the water, they hit another level of energy,'' Ford said. ''The crowd is a significant part of it. This is as good of a college atmosphere as you'll play in.''

Bradley played WSU close on its home court earlier this month before losing 69-63. The Braves stayed within reach of WSU for most of the first half in the rematch before a late run put the Shockers on course for their seventh consecutive victory in the series.

Guard Demetric Williams provided the first big spark for WSU. Williams made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining in the first half, then stole the ball from Bradley's Jake Eastman and converted it into a driving layup just before time expired to give the Shockers a 32-23 lead.

''It got the ball rolling,'' said Anthony, who scored in double figures for the 16th time this season. ''We just tried to keep it going from there and build a bigger lead.''

Bradley was still within nine points at 39-30 after Lemon sank two free throws with 15:20 remaining. But Wiggins, who went scoreless in seven first-half minutes, came up big during the Shockers' game-breaking run.

Wiggins scored his first points on a dunk. A minute later, he added the first of his three 3-pointers. The last 3-pointer preceded teammate Ehimen Orupke's free throw, which extended WSU's lead to 59-32 with 8:38 to play.

The Shockers, who defeated the Braves by 38 and 39 points in their two meetings last season, continued to stretch their lead until the final buzzer. WSU's reserves combined for 38 points, nearly matching the Braves' team output.

''We've been through this three times now,'' Ford said. ''It happened to us at South Florida (an 82-63 loss), it happened to us at Northern Iowa and it happened to us tonight.

''The other two times, we've come back with wins,'' Ford said. ''We just have to have a higher level of toughness and character during the disappointment phase.''

Tagged: Wichita State, Bradley, Missouri, Walt Lemon, Jr.

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