Pacific 49, Bradley 59
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Three-point specialist Dodie Dunson played through an injury to his shooting hand to pour in 13 points and lead Bradley to a 59-49 win over Pacific in a CollegeInsider.com semifinal game on Wednesday.
The Braves advance to the postseason tournament’s championship game on Tuesday. Bradley will play the winner of Thursday’s James Madison-Old Dominion game at Carver Arena.
Bradley (21-14), the tournament’s top seed, was fresh off a stunning 76-75 quarterfinal win over Oakland, Mich., on Monday that came courtesy of a last-second, 75-foot bank-shot by Braves guard Chris Roberts.
On Wednesday, it was Dunson’s turn to be the hero. The junior guard, recovering from a severely bruised hand that cut sharply into his playing time the past month, went 3-for-5 from the three-point line during a crucial second-half run that stopped the Tigers (21-13) in their tracks.
“He’s been feeling a little better since the weekend,” said Bradley coach Jim Les. “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of commitment from Dodie. The team appreciates it, and I know the coaching staff does.”
Les said he was pleased with how the Braves have handled the expectations of being the tournament’s top seed.
“I think they’ve done well,” he said. “And it’s helped to play all of our games here in Peoria.”
Bradley led 26-25 at the midpoint and opened the second half with a 9-2 run. The Braves went 12-13 from the free-throw line - 6-for-6 in the second half.
“They made their threes and they made their free-throws,” said Pacific coach Bob Thomason. “They are very quick and very smart, although I don’t think they played their best game tonight. But they outplayed us and that’s what counts.”
Bradley forward Theron Wilson scored 12 points and guard Sam Maniscalco had 10.
Senior guard Michael Kirby led the Tigers with 14 points, while forward Sam Willis contributed 10.