AllAmerica forward Mitchell Anderson's 19 points and 21 rebounds led Bradley University to a 77-53 victory tonight over Howard in the Bison's season opener.
The Bison, who gained the NCAA Division I tournament last season, never led in the game played before a capacity crowd of 7,300 at Robertson Memorial Field House.
Bernard Perry led the Bison with 12 points. James Terry had 11 points and 13 rebounds and James Ratiff nine points and 11 rebounds.
Bradley forced 20 turnovers and outrebounded the Bison, 54-38.
"We lost our poise on offense," said Coach A.B. Williamson. "We had bad shot selection and they killed us on the boards, that was the difference."
Anderson had six offensive rebounds and Barney Nines five as the Braves dominated play inside.
"We lost our leading rebounder (Larry Spriggs, to graduation) and our other kids didn't hit the boards hard enough," Williamson said. "They were getting three shots at times.
"Our veterans didn't handle things as well as I thought. At times we reverted to playground basketball and you can't win major college basketball games that way."
The Bison also suffered at the free throw line, making just five of 17 foul shots.
"You can count on the fingers of one hand how many games, at any level, you'll win making that many free throws," Williamson said. "A kindergarten team can shoot better than that."
Impatient on offense, slow to rebound, the Bison shot just 32 percent the second half, 41 percent for the game, as Ratiff was four of 14 and Perry six of 16.
"We rushed our shots," Williamson said. "We shot when they dictated, not when we wanted to. We just lost our patience, and you can't do that against a team like Bradley.
"I think we can play with Bradley, on another night. I know Bradley thinks it can play with Oregon State (which beat the Braves, 81-55, Saturday in their season opener), on another night."
It became apparent early it would have to be another night as the Bison committed six turnovers in the first 6 1/2 minutes and were behind, 44-32, at the half.