Scores

Final

(13) Bradley 72

(22-10, 11-7 MVC)

(5) Pittsburgh 66

(25-8, 10-6 Big East)

    12:10 PM ET, March 19, 2006

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

    1 2 T
    #13BRAD 30 4272
    #5PITT 29 3766

    Top Performers

    Bradley: P. O'Bryant 28 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Pittsburgh: L. Fields 18 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Bradley busts Pitt to reach first Sweet 16 in 51 years

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Bradley was all business after knocking out Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    Now it's party time.

    The 13th-seeded Braves are on their way to the third round for the first time in 51 years after their latest stunner -- a 72-66 victory over fifth-seeded Pittsburgh on Sunday in the Oakland Regional.

    "Being part of this program spanning 30 years ... to see the jubilation on the faces of those people, and getting the calls and text messages from people enjoying this run, that gives me tremendous pleasure," said coach Jim Les, a former BU point guard. "Bradley basketball is back on the map in a big way."

    Patrick O'Bryant had 28 points and seven rebounds and Marcellus Sommerville added 18 points and six rebounds for the Braves (22-10), who join fellow Missouri Valley Conference member Wichita State in the round of 16. They will play top-seeded Memphis on Thursday.

    Playing in their first NCAA Tournament in 10 years, the Braves have looked like seasoned veterans with surprising wins over fourth-seeded Kansas and now the Panthers (25-8), becoming the first No. 13 seed in the regional semifinals since Oklahoma in 1999.

    They didn't wait to make the six-hour trip back home to Peoria, Ill., to start celebrating.

    As the horn sounded, the Bradley players leaped over the scorer's table and joined thousands of red-clad Braves faithful in the stands.

    O'Bryant, a sophomore from Blaine, Minn., led the way after rendering Pitt's 7-footer a non-factor, getting Gray in early foul trouble with his quickness and then simply outplaying him in the second half.

    "It was a great feeling, because those fans have been with us all year," O'Bryant said.

    After dominating the smaller Kent State in the first round with 17 points and 13 rebounds, Gray had to look eye-to-eye with O'Bryant in this one and couldn't measure up, scoring 12 points and grabbing four rebounds.

    Gray buried his head in his locker for several minutes after the game, unable to get himself together.

    "There are so many emotional highs and lows," Gray said. "You play really well one night, and the next night, you don't play well at all. The great players bring it every night."

    Pittsburgh's Carl Krauser said before the tourney started he was looking forward to a possible rematch with former Pitt coach Ben Howland and UCLA in the regional final.

    But that will be for Bradley to dream about now.

    There were only 24 teams in the tournament the last time Bradley advanced to the third round in 1955. It lost to Colorado that year, ending the school's bid for three title-game appearances in five years.

    The Braves raced out to a 16-4 lead behind O'Bryant's inside presence and Pitt's 1-for-10 start from the field, then really took control in the second half.

    O'Bryant and Sommerville combined for all 13 of Bradley's points during a 13-2 run in the first six minutes of the second half that put the Braves in control.

    "They weren't intimidated at all," Pitt forward Levon Kendall said. "They were in our face the whole game."

    Freshman Levance Fields, who scored 18 points, stopped the run with a layup, but Pitt's misery continued. Gray missed a dunk and then Krauser missed a wide open tip-in.

    O'Bryant followed on the other end with a thunderous alley-oop dunk and Tony Bennett banked in a mid-range jumper for a 53-39 lead with under 9 minutes to go. Pitt never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

    Playing in their school-record fifth straight NCAA Tournament, the Panthers looked like nervous kids against the newcomers from Bradley.

    They committed careless turnovers, missed free throws and lost their composure throughout the game. Krauser, playing in his ninth NCAA Tournament game, came unglued several times and Gray picked up a technical foul in the second half when he slammed the ball to the court after being whistled for a five-second call.

    "This has been the best five years I've ever spent," said Krauser, who had 17 points and six turnovers. "We turned a football school into a school known for basketball, but there's a lot of winning left for Levance and the kids to do."

    Pitt coach Jamie Dixon and his sister, Maggie, the Army women's coach, lost on the same day. They're believed to be the first brother and sister to coach in the NCAA Tournament in the same year.

    That Bradley even made the tournament is remarkable. The Braves started the conference season 2-4 and finished in sixth place during the regular season, but won seven of their last eight to get an at-large bid.

    After his interviews were finished, Les joined his family in the stands. He was mobbed by daughters Hannah and Amber before sharing a long embrace with his wife, Jodi, sure to be one of the few quiet moments he'll enjoy in the next few days.

    "We're running the gamut of emotions," Les said. "It hasn't sunk in yet, but it's going to be an enjoyable week. But we aren't satisfied."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    BRAD
    PITT
    Points 72 66
    FG Made-Attempted 22-59 (.373) 25-61 (.410)
    3P Made-Attempted 2-6 (.333) 6-20 (.300)
    FT Made-Attempted 26-32 (.813) 10-11 (.909)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 14 3

    Series

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Mar 19, 2006 BRAD 72, @PITT 66Recap