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Bradley holds off Norfolk State for 69-57 win

norfolk stateNorfolk State led for a good portion of the first half and got to within two in the latter stages of the game, but the Spartan men’s basketball team fell to Bradley by a 69-57 score on Tuesday night at Carver Arena.

NSU held the lead for nearly 13 minutes in the first half against the defending Missouri Valley Conference Braves. They used a run at the end of the first half to take the lead and then held off the Spartans for the second. The lead never reached double figures until the last minute of play.

Sophomore Joe Bryant Jr. played an outstanding game on offense, finishing 6-of-12 from the field for a 17-point night for NSU (3-2). Senior Jermaine Bishop also scored in double figures with 14.

The Braves (3-1) got going in the second half after making just 36 percent in the first. They had five players in double figures while holding the Spartans to just 32 percent in the second stanza. The contest was part of the Fort Myers Tip-Off Tournament.

The Spartans started the game off with an 8-3 lead, but the Braves scored the next eight points for their first lead of the game. NSU got a couple of buckets in transition for a 14-11 edge with exactly 12 minutes on the clock.

Bishop’s 3-pointer made it a four-point game in the Spartans’ favor, and they maintained that advantage while holding Bradley to without a field goal for five and a half minutes. But Danya Kingsby nailed a corner trey as the Braves closed the half on an 11-3 run. They went into the locker room up 34-30.

The Braves pushed the lead to eight and then nine early in the second half as NSU went five and a half minutes without a basket. The Spartans cut it to four on Bryant’s 3-point play at the 12:34 mark, and Bishop’s 3-pointer with 9:18 on the clock made it 47-45 in favor of the Braves.

The Spartans still were within two on Bryant’s trey a few minutes later, but Nate Kennell knocked down a pair from deep to push the lead back to eight. The advantage never dipped below seven after that.

Koch Bar shot 5-of-7 for 15 points with eight rebounds for Bradley. Darrell Brown added 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds as well. Kennell and Elijah Childs added 11 each, and Ja’Shon Henry went for 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks as well.

Bradley held the edge in points off turnovers, 19-9, after forcing 18 miscues by NSU.

For the Spartans, freshman Yoro Sidibe shot 6-of-8 from the free throw line as part of an eight-point night. Junior Devante Carter added six points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals. NSU finished with eight steals compared to just four for the Braves.

Bradley was held to 6-of-24 shooting from deep as part of a 42 percent overall shooting night. NSU finished at 40 percent after hitting exactly half of its first-half shots.

NSU will travel up to Chicago to take on Northwestern on Friday night, also part of the Fort Myers Tournament.