Bradley photo

Junior Demarcus Sharp, left, laughs and celebrates with his teammates after senior Gaige Prim’s basket during the men’s game against Bradley University Saturday, Feb. 13 at JQH Arena. The Bears beat the Braves 80-58.

The Missouri State men’s basketball team beat a short-handed Bradley University squad 80-58 Saturday evening.

It was announced by Bradley 30 minutes before the game started that Bradley players Elijah Childs, Ja’Shon Henry, Danya Kingsby and Terry Nolan Jr. were suspended for the weekend series due to violations of Bradley program standards. Childs has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Conference team two years in a row and was the Braves’ leading scorer.

Initially, it was hard to tell Bradley was down those players. The Braves jumped out to a 9-2 lead by the first media timeout.

Then sophomore guard Ja’Monta Black started shooting. And he did not miss. Black shot 83% from three-point range in the first half. Combine that with junior guard Jared Ridder going 2-3 and the whole team shooting 73.9% from the field and the Bears had a 44-24 lead going into halftime.

The Bears continued to shoot at a high clip in the second half, going 57.4% from the field and 14-23 from three. Bradley never threatened the MSU lead and the Bears won 80-58.

Black led the Bears in scoring with 24 points and shot 60.9% from behind the arc. Senior Gaige Prim scored 20.

The victory is the Bears’ fourth in a row, and the team goal of winning out their regular season schedule is closer to becoming reality.

“You don’t want to lose any games,” senior Spencer Brown said. “We feel like we’re more than capable of winning out.”

Head coach Dana Ford said the win was a good one for the team, even if the news of the Bradley suspensions caught the team off-guard.

“(We found out) when they came out for warmups and those guys weren’t in it,” Ford said. “We came out tonight — after the first four minutes I thought we were pretty good. Our group hasn’t lost any confidence this season.”

The Bears play Bradley again tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 14 at home at 3 p.m.

Follow Stephen Terrill on Twitter, @stevethe2nd

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