PEORIA, Ill. -- Bradley senior guard Jeremy Crouch scored a game-high 20 points, including a dagger 3-pointer with 2:03 left, leading the Braves (21-16) to an 83-74 victory versus Tulsa (24-14) in the second game of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational Championship Series in front of a CBI best 9,014 fans Wednesday night at Carver Arena. After the teams split the first two games in the best-of-three series, they will meet in a deciding game Friday night (7 p.m.) at Tulsa's Reynolds Center.
In addition to Crouch's 20 points and six assists, the Braves received 17 points from Andrew Warren, 13 points from Theron Wilson and 12 points and a game-high eight assists from Daniel Ruffin. Tulsa forward Ray Reese led the Golden Hurricane with 19 points. Brett McDade added 12 and Jerome Jordan chipped in with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Forced to put together a rally in each of its first four games in the CBI, Bradley played from in front most of the game Wednesday. After Tulsa scored the game's first points on a Jordan reverse layup 1:23 into the game, the Braves scored the next 10 and never allowed the Golden Hurricane within six points the rest of the game. Leading 29-22 following a Sam Mitchell 3-point play 6:37 left in the half, Bradley hit Tulsa with a 19-9 surge to break the game open. Freshman guard Sam Maniscalco's steal and transition 3-point play gave Bradley a 48-31 cushion with 1:40 remaining in the half.
Bradley shot a scorching 20-for-30 (.667) from the field in the first half, while limiting the Golden Hurricane to an 11-for-29 (.379) effort. And after making just 4-of-19 3-point field goal attempts in Monday's opening game, including an 0-for-7 effort in the first half, Bradley made 6-of-9 long-range attempts in the first half Wednesday night.
After making his first 20 free throw attempts of the tournament, Crouch missed the front end of a 1-and-bonus situation with 12:39 left in the second half, but he tracked down his own miss and fed 7-footer David Collins with a nifty, around-the-back pass for a short jumper and a game-high 18-point lead, 59-41.
Tulsa whittled away at the deficit and pulled to within nine, 61-52, on a McDade 3-pointer with 9:23 left. Warren twice answered McDade 3-pointers with his own triples to keep the Golden Hurricane at bay, then after Ben Uzoh hit a straight-away 3-pointer with 3:03 left to pull Tulsa within 78-69, Crouch delivered the final blow with his fifth trey of the night to all but seal the win.
After allowing Tulsa to win the rebound battle 47-30 Monday night, the Braves battled the Golden Hurricane to a near standoff on the boards Wednesday, 31-32. Most significant, however, was Bradley's ability to take advantage of its ball pressure. The Braves held a +5 turnover margin and used Tulsa's 12 turnovers for a 16-3 advantage in points off turnovers. Bradley also held a 16-5 edge in transition points.
Friday's championship game once again will be televised by Fox College Sports, which is available on DirecTV channel 669.