Iowa St. 87, Bradley 68

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

Marquis Gilstrap scored a season-high 25 points and Iowa State pounded Bradley 87-68 on Sunday in one of its most impressive wins of the season.

Craig Brackins added 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for the Cyclones (8-3), who used a pair of first-half runs to cruise to their second straight victory.

Iowa State opened the game with an 18-6 spurt, then went on a 26-4 run to jump ahead 44-16 late in the opening half. The Cyclones led by as many as 32 points midway through the second half.

Andrew Warren had 16 points for the Braves (5-5), who have lost three straight after a promising 5-2 start.

Iowa State won its first six games, then dropped three in a row. The Cyclones snapped the losing streak with an 81-71 win over Iowa last week and had nine days to prepare for the Braves.

Bradley, on the other hand, dropped its last two at home - to Western Carolina and Loyola of Chicago - after wins over Illinois and Northern Illinois. But Sunday was the first time this season the Braves never really had a chance at a victory.

Bradley showed a bit of life early in the second half, pulling within 45-26. That proved to be little more than a minor inconvenience for the Cyclones, who scored 16 of the game's next 19 points and jumped ahead 61-29 with 11 minutes left.

The Braves got going after that, scoring more points in the final 10 minutes than they did in the first 30, but by then it didn't matter.

The game figured to hinge on Bradley's stellar 3-point defense - the Braves ranked first in the Missouri Valley Conference by allowing opponents to shoot just 27.6 percent from 3-point range - against Iowa State's perimeter game. The Cyclones entered play ranked fourth nationally at 44.6 percent from 3s.

The long ball turned out to be the least of Bradley's worries.

The Cyclones simply pounded the Braves inside, shooting 25-of-37 from inside the 3-point line. That also left things open outside, as Iowa State was 6-of-15 shooting from 3-point range.

Bradley threatened to make it interesting by pulling within 18-12 - only to watch helplessly as Iowa State ran off perhaps its best stretch of the young season.

Reserve guard Charles Boozer hit a jumper and a layup to help make it 29-15. Gilstrap - who moments earlier had rejected a shot that nearly sailed back to halfcourt - buried a 3 and a stepped back for jumper from the wing to push that lead to 23. Chris Colvin and Scott Christopherson closed out the game's defining run with layups to give the Cyclones a 44-16 lead with 24 seconds left in the first half.

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