Illinois State Edges Host Missouri State, 64-63
Feb. 2, 2008
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Senior guard Dom Johnson poured in a season-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting (5-7 three point range), and the Redbirds came up with a key defensive stop down the stretch, propelling Illinois State (16-6, 8-3 MVC) to a thrilling 64-63 win over host Missouri State (11-12, 4-7 MVC) Saturday at Hammons Student Center. The win gave ISU its third Missouri Valley Conference road win, and broke the Redbirds' previous five-game losing streak against the Bears.
Johnson's 23 points led all scorers, and Osiris Eldridge (17 points) and Boo Richardson (10) both tallied double-digit scoring outputs. MSU was led by Dale Lamberth's 20 points. Deven Mitchell also contributed 13 points for the Bears.
Illinois State was hot from the field early, jumping out to a 13-6 lead at the first media timeout (15:30). Eldridge had five quick points, while Richardson and Johnson added three-pointers, and a wide-open Dinma Odiakosa dunked after receiving a pass from Brandon Sampay. Mitchell kept MSU close with three converted field goals, and all six of the Bears' points.
ISU extended its lead to nine points, 20-11, 3:31 later. After committing three-consecutive turnovers, the Redbirds went on a 5-0 run. But Lamberth single-handedly brought the Bears back after the media timeout, hitting three-pointers on three-consecutive possessions to knot the score at 20-20 with 9:53 remaining in the stanza, and force ISU into its first timeout. Richardson hit a three-pointer of his own with 8:53 left, and gave the `Birds a 23-20 lead at the ensuing media timeout.
Missouri State out-scored the Redbirds 14-10 for the remainder of the half, taking as large as a three-point lead (34-31). Johnson had a team-high 11 points, converting all three of his three-point field goal attempts, while Mitchell and Lamberth each had 11 points for the Bears.
The Redbirds opened the second half on a 6-0 spurt, and forced MSU into a timeout (17:21) with ISU clinging to a 39-34 lead. Eldridge had two field goals in the spree, and Anthony Slack scored his first two points of the game. Spencer Laurie's rolling jumper from the elbow gave MSU its first field goal of the second half with 16:43 remaining, and the Bears pulled within three, 39-36, at the half's first media timeout (15:37).
Illinois State owned a 44-42 advantage at the ensuing media timeout (11:51), but Sampay and Slack each picked up their respective third fouls in the four-minute stretch. Eldridge was also forced to the bench after being shaken up underneath the south basket, but returned to the lineup shortly thereafter.
Mitchell converted two field goals in the ensuing four-minute stretch to help the Bears re-tie the score at 54-54 with 7:21 remaining. Levi Dyer and Eldridge's field goals in the paint kept the score tied. Both teams traded baskets over the ensuing four minutes, before ISU claimed a 60-58 lead with 2:27 after Richardson's driving layup. But on the other end, Spencer Laurie's desperation three-pointer as the shot clock was expiring gave the Bears a 61-60 lead with 1:46 remaining.
ISU regained the 62-61 advantage with 1:07 left after Johnson drove right baseline and converted a layup. Two free throws by MSU's Chris Cooks with 38 seconds remaining pushed the Bears back into the lead (63-62), but Johnson again answered for the `Birds, driving to the lane and drawing the MSU foul. He converted both free throws to give ISU its eventual game-winning advantage, 64-63.
ISU called timeout after the second free throw to set up its defense. On MSU's ensuing possession, Cooks missed a driving jumper, and Slack corralled the rebound and heaved the ball down the floor to a streaking Richardson, who ran out the clock.
Illinois State returns home Tuesday to host No. 16 Drake, jumpstarting a three-game homestand. Tip-off on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena is set for 7:05 p.m.