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Jake Eastman’s buzzer-beater leads Bradley to 63-62 win over UIC

Updated: March 25, 2013 7:03AM

Through most of UIC’s Bracket-
Busters game Saturday against Bradley at the UIC Pavilion, the Flames’ defense managed to make the Braves very uncomfortable when trying to run their half-court offense.

Bradley tried relentlessly to run sets to get its shooters free and big men touches in the post but was unable to consistently score.

However, late in the game when Bradley abandoned its offensive game plan and allowed its guards to penetrate, UIC found it couldn’t match the Braves’ athleticism. That fueled a second-half comeback, capped off by Jake Eastman’s game-winning jumper with 0.4 seconds remaining to give Bradley a 63-62 win.

“We didn’t guard like we did the first half, and I don’t know what it was, but we’ve just got to learn from it and get ready for Wright State [Tuesday],” said Flames guard Danny Barnes, who scored a team-high 18. “We’ve got to learn from this too, because it could happen any given night. We’ve got to learn from this and keep it moving.”

UIC (15-13) guard Gary Talton hit a layup with 38 seconds left, putting the Flames up 62-61 and giving Bradley one last possession to try and win the game.

Twice the Braves (16-13) corralled offensive rebounds on that possession before Eastman was able to hit the game-winner.

“It just came down to the simplest of defensive principles possible. Keep a guy in front of you, you help if a guy’s beat, and then you just block out and rebound,” UIC coach Howard Moore said. “We get one rebound, we win.”

As much as Moore is right and the game came down to grabbing one rebound, the Flames could have won the game if they were more disciplined defensively.

UIC led by nine with 5:29 left, prompting Bradley coach Geno Ford to virtually stop calling plays from the bench.

From that point, the Braves’ backcourt combination of Walt Lemon Jr. and Dyricus Simms-Edwards took over the game. The duo was able to get to the basket with ease, combining to score 28 second-half points. Lemon Jr. finished with a game-high 22 and Simms-Edwards had 17.

“They were just putting their heads down and driving us and it was a matter of our defense not being down ready and being in a position,” Moore said.

“They’re pretty aggressive. They wanted it just as much as we did.”

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