Yes, after a last second 3, Bradley trailled Missouri State 32-30 at the end of the first half. The Missouri State lead swelled to 42-33 with 15:41 left to play. But this team does not panic any longer; they made adjustments, kept making the extra pass, stayed with their defensive assignments, etc. They took a 1 point lead with 11 minutes to go and never trailed again. The crowd got loud..the atmosphere is starting, just starting, to resemble the better atmospheres of a decade ago. It was so much fun to see!
What a great way to end the home season. Bradley won 3 of their final 4 home games; they haven’t done that in a number of years.
Oh, my workout: great running weather, though the course was a bit slick with light rain. I did the 5.1 mile course, running the hills hard enough to force myself to walk after finishing each hill; this was my usual “6 hard segments workout. It felt good, though without a stopwatch for each segment, did I really push myself hard enough? Note: the second half took 30 minutes to do (12 mpm, which of course includes recovery walking.
On each uphill, I try to make myself hurt; maybe I imagine the 5K race clock about to tick past 25:59, or maybe T and her shiny spandex just a few yards ahead, etc. …anything to get me to push.
Well, the Bradley Women lost to Wichita State 76-69; the free throw shooting did not help. They were 13-15; we were 16-24. It was 38-34 at the half; note that Bradley started out with a 10-2 lead. Wichita also shot 50 percent from 3 point range; that is way too high of a percentage. Yes, they were mostly open looks.
Bradley trailed by 10…but then rallied to cut it to 2 points…but missed a layup! (somewhat contested though). Wichita seemed to take control after that.
But I have gotten spoiled given that BU has won 4 home games in a row. They are much improved from last year and are a pleasure to watch.
Of interest is that they handed out stuff to make sandwiches with as you walked into the arena. Then at half time, they had you make your sandwich. I gave mine away to a younger man (higher metabolism).
Workout notes: I didn’t sleep well last night; too giddy from a wonderful Saturday. The weights went ok:
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, strong), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (slightly weak), 7 x 170 (weak), 10 x 135 incline press, rows: 3 sets of 10 with different machines. Military: 7 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 40 all standing dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine (strict) Usual abs: 2 sets of twist crunch (12), 2 sets of 10 leg lifts, head stand (reasonably good).
Then I went outside to walk (beautiful day): I did the out and back to Bass Pro (5 miles) then had to rest; I was very, very thirsty and had a slight headache. I drank, then did another 3 to get 8 miles (8.2 really).
We had a mild snowstorm (unusual for THIS winter, but seasonal) and a cold snap that put the overnight temperature into the teens. (F) So, given that ISU-blue was last in the conference, Bradley was 8 out of 10 and there was an 8 pm start to the game, attendance wasn’t great:
Announced attendance was just over 5000, but I doubt that there was even half of that actually at the game. But we were there.
And Bradley showed up, at least for the first half. Bradley jumped out to an early lead (hitting some 3 point shots; 50 percent in the first half) and lead 27-15 early. ISU rallied to cut into the lead, but a late 9-2 run put Bradley up 38-27 at the half. Things were looking up.
Bradley paraded its “athletes on the honor roll” at the half. I saw some of my students out there.
But then came the second half. While ISU made some good defensive adjustments, Bradley was so poor from the free throw line, they averaged 50 percent for the game. And this was *everyone*; this wasn’t a matter of the team’s worst shooter getting free throws most of the time.
And it took BU 10:30 to get its FIRST field goal (yes, 10:30 field goal drought) and BU was to go…THREE for TWENTY FOUR in the second half. 24 shots (many lay ups), 3 makes. That is not a misprint.
Needless to say, ISU took a small lead…but somehow, somehow, Bradley got it back and lead 54-51 with 1:48 to go. All that, and still BU lead.
But they left open ISU’s best shooter for a 3, and then gave up a lay up. BU called a time out but could only get off a bad look 3 point shot. That missed but with a few seconds to go, BU got a steal! With 1.8 seconds, a BU player desperately tried to call “time out” but the referee didn’t see it; he watched the driving desperation attempt from afar, which missed.
And thus ended Bradley’s hopes of putting together back to back conference wins.
This was perhaps the most disappointing game of the season. Yeah, the guys tried, but they seem to lack confidence in themselves; they have that “oh no!” aura when things go wrong.
This time, one of the power forwards stepped up and scored 18 points, and the whole team played excellent defense as the Bradley women won its second game in a row.
The team trailed by 2 points at the end of the first quarter (14-12) but the defense stepped up and only allowed 27 points over the remaining 3 quarters. They held ISU to 27 percent shooting and only 10 percent from 3 point range. BU out rebounded ISU as well; it was a great win all the way around.
I think that the freshman point guard is a major factor for the team’s improvement.
That finishes a 3 game weekend sweep; women winning two games and the men winning one. I could get very used to this! Note: yesterday’s and today’s wins were against “mid pack of the MVC” teams, not “bottom dwelling” teams.
Ok, it was a battle between a 8-16 and a 7-16 team, so there weren’t many there to see it.
But I was there and glad that I went. Bradley came out with fire and played with a bit of an attitude.
As you can see from the stats, the Braves shot the lights out from 3 point range; that opened up the inside for dunks, lobs, and put backs on missed shots. Just like the Wichita game, it was a great start..against a “sort of lower-mid-pack” MVC team (even after today, Drake has won 5 MVC games; Bradley only 4).
The Men’s 1995-1996 MVC championship team was honored at halftime; I am surprised at how much they’ve aged. I was already at Bradley for a few years when this happened; I saw these guys play.
But Bradley really isn’t good enough to blow out a “sort of lower-midpack MVC team” like Drake; Drake made a run and cut it to 5 points within the last few minutes of the game (2:36). But Bradley didn’t panic; they got some key stops and rebounds to close out a win.
I see a few more victories this season, especially at home. I don’t see a future home opponent that they don’t have a realistic chance of beating.
Now maybe the women can complete the weekend sweep tomorrow? But they are playing a much better team than they did last night. But ISU-blue is still 5-5 in conference whereas the Bradley women are 4-6. They have a realistic shot at winning this one.
Bradley’s big center was too much for Loyola; she ended up with 26 points (18 in the first half) as Bradley screamed out to a 47-16 halftime lead and then just cruised.
Note: in the action photo, you can see the men’s team in the stands, lending support.
It made for the end of a good day..though my back was still stiff. I was limited to .5 miles of running and 2.6 of walking on the treadmill (last mile was 12:45, with an incline), plus some back exercises.
I’ll take it easy for the next few days..it is better.
Ok, this isn’t the crowd one would expect from a Wichita State game, but the action in the first half was intense:
WSU scored 11 points in the first 5 minutes but only 9 more for the rest of the first half.
Bradley forces the Shockers into multiple turnovers.
But then came the second half; WSU went on a 31-13 run in the first 13 minutes of the second half and then went on to win 64-49, outscoring Bradley 44-24 in the second half. Cruel reality strikes again.
Still…I still think that this team has at least 3, maybe more, wins left in conference. Bradley has had 2 games with Loyola, 2 with Wichita and 1 with Illinois State. Aside from the Illinois State game in Normal (which will be brutal), Bradley should be able to compete for a win in each of the remaining 8 conference games. I think a 3-5 to 4-4 finish is a very realistic goal.
For the longest time, I noticed that, on the average, I was weaker in the Riverplex weight room than I was in the Bradley weight room. I wondered if there was a difference in the bench, or weights..or something. Then over the past few months, the difference went away…only to come roaring back today.
What is going on: I tended to lift at the Riverplex on Sunday mornings…the day after a long workout. THAT, is probably the difference.
So today: weights and a 4 mile walk at about 15:30 mpm. It was below freezing; some light “flurry like” sleet.
weights; a few light squats and rotator cuff things. Pull ups: 5 sets of 10; the last couple were the strongest sets?
bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 190, 2 x 170 (??? super weak)
incline press: 10 x 135, 6 x 150 (weak, but less so)
rows: 2 sets of 10 with the machine, 1 set of 10 x 65 dumbbells.
Military: 2 sets of 7 x 50 dumbbell, 10 x 45 dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine.
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts.
headstand: got into it and stayed steady…good for today
Then the walk.
Afterward: I caught the Bradley Women beating the Evansville women 56-52; BU had an 8 point lead with 4 minutes to go but let it slip with a scoring drought; they made enough defensive plays to close it. This is unlike Friday, there the let the lead slip away and lost by 9 to Southern Illinois. The SIU game was on a Friday night and drew reasonably well. There were a few students in a special student section; the men’s basketball team showed up to cheer on the women, and many local people were there to cheer for an East Peoria basketball player who was playing for Southern.
Ok, I’ll focus on fun stuff for this post. Yesterday was the first day of the semester. While I’ll be crazy busy with teaching, I have three interesting courses (Calculus III, differential equations, second half of probability and statistics.) These are time intensive but feature interesting material.
My wife is away for a work trip. So I had the evening to myself and took Vickie (my yoga/exercise class teacher) to the Illinois State vs. Bradley basketball game. She is an Illinois State graduate.
But the game started at 8 pm so I had a chance to take the 5:30-6:30 exercise class, (core body/pilates type stuff) which Mamma T ably led. It didn’t break my heart to be lined up next to the very lovely Jennifer.
Friendship, sweating and fun…can’t beat it.
Then it was off to the Bradley Basketball game. Yes, Illinois State came in with an RPI of 27; Bradley’s was 212. Illinois State soundly defeated two teams (Wichita State, Loyola) who had dominated Bradley.
So what happened was no surprise; late in the first half ISU galloped out to a 36-11 lead and cruised to an easy 69-49 win…the game was more lopsided than the 20 point spread might indicate.
I think that ISU can win a game or two in the NCAA tournament.
But it was fun to spend time with Vickie and the visiting ISU fans.
She is saying “Go Birds”…
High energy prior to the game: 7700 plus (though the place holds 11000) The schools are only 45 miles apart, so many fans were visiting ISU fans.
And the reality:
Still, Bradley has equaled its conference win total from last year, and I STILL expect to see 3-4 more wins in the conference. Bradley HAS made progress; we just aren’t ready for such a strong team.
yesterday: Cornstalk hill 4 mile walk. PM: the exercise class I talked about. 🙂
Today: early am: weights. later am (after my 9-10 class): 4 mile walk; same as yesterday
Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (4 sets of 10, then 1 more)
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 190, 8 x 175
incline press: 10 x 150
military press: 10 x 50 standing, 20 x 50 seated, supported (left elbow/forearm pain late), 10 x 110 machine with rotated grip
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm
headstand: rough…had trouble getting into it, fell over once, and the second time, never got steady.
I saw two women’s games in person, and watched part of the men’s game at Indiana State.
Men Fell behind 44-22; rallied in the second half but lost 81-71. If you are 22 points down at the half, you will lose..the vast majority of the time anyway. League leading Illinois State is up (they creamed a good Wichita State team 76-62…saw that one on TV) and I am scheduled to take an Illinois State graduate to that game. Oh boy.
Women Played the league leaders: Drake on Friday night and University of Northern Iowa on Sunday. Both opponents are strong teams who have lost mostly to big-time teams…and it showed.
Drake 93, Bradley 60: in this one, Bradley was never in it.
UNI 71, Bradley 52: in this one, Bradley fell behind 21-10 in the first quarter; hung in for the next quarter and a half, and then got worn down.
The women are trying, but these teams simply had better players; currently there is a talent gap.
Nevertheless, I enjoy the games:
This next photo: shows a math department member (foreground) and some athletic teams that were on hand to cheer the team on.
Third quarter: reality.
In the stands (top row), you can see some of the men’s basketball team on hand to cheer on the women.
Halftime burpee challenge for kids. The Sunday afternoon games are very “kid friendly”.
UNI is tied for the lead in the MVC for a reason.
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