The Braves (5-1) scored 34 of their 40 first-half points in the lane and led by as many as 14. Up 25-11 with 9:32 left, they saw their lead dissipate to five with a 13-4 run by the Chippewas (3-3) over the next 3:22. Buckets on three consecutive possessions brought CMU to within 29-24 with 6:10 left, but the Braves were able to stretch the lead back to double digits and took a 40-29 advantage at the break. They shot 18-of-40 and turned the ball over just twice, while 13 CMU turnovers limited the Chippewas to 10-of-27 shooting.
"The first-half turnovers surprised me because, coming out of Utah, it wasn't something that had been a problem for us," said Central Michigan head coach Keno Davis.
Center Zach Saylor played only seven minutes, missing the entire second half, which allowed Bradley even easier looks at the basket as they shot 67 percent (18-27) after the break to pull away.
"Everyone knows we are thin inside and when Zach goes down we are really thin," said Davis. "I was amazed we out-rebounded them as thin as we were but they got way too many easy buckets."
Kyle Randall poured in a career-high 21 points, including a 9-for-9 performance from the line, and grabbed a team-high five rebounds - an honor he shared with John Simons who added a pair of steals during the second-half full-court press.
Five Braves reached double-figures, led by Tyshon Pickett's 17 points, 13 of which came in the first half.
Additional postgame quotes from head coach Keno Davis:
"I give Bradley a lot of credit. What you saw out them was a very well-coached team, an up-and-coming team in the Missouri Valley, and an experienced team with the majority of their rotation being seniors and juniors and one sophomore."
"Their experience, their physical play, bothered us and took us out of some of the things that have been successful for us."
"I liked our team, even though we did not execute like we need to. The effort was there. Being able to out-rebound an upperclassmen team is something we can look at as a positive, and we can go back to the practice court and try to improve on some of our deficiencies from this game."