NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — It’s only one Missouri Valley Conference game.
But it’s a game that might linger with the Illinois State and Bradley basketball programs for a while. ISU’s 71-56 win in the first I-74 rivalry game of the season seemed to catch everyone by surprise.
The Braves (9-5, 3-2 in MVC) had won three in a row and were among the nation’s top teams in defense. ISU (5-8, 2-5 in MVC) had just been swept at home by Indiana State and had only one conference win in six tries.
So much for momentum. ISU outscored Bradley 41-25 in the second half Wednesday and notched its best victory of the season.
“A great performance, so proud of our team,” said ISU coach Dan Muller. “Incredibly slow, pathetically terrible start, which we have to do better at. I thought the start to the second half was the key to the game. A lot of guys did great things.”
The Redbirds wrap up a five-game home stand hosting Valparaiso on Saturday and Sunday. Bradley has a showdown with Loyola at Carver Arena on Sunday and Monday.
Brian Wardle hopes there’s no carry over from Wednesday’s loss.
“Give Illinois State credit, they brought it to us and they were the better team. We hopefully have learned a lesson and have been humbled in some areas,” the Bradley head coach said. “Because that, of all our losses this year was the first time I didn’t think we competed and played Bradley basketball.”