Richardson's Late Heroics Lead ISU Past Evansville
Feb. 20, 2008
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - When Illinois State was struggling and needing a win in the worst way, it turned to its senior leaders. Boo Richardson scored six of ISU's final 10 points, and Anthony Slack hit two clutch free throws with 11.4 seconds remaining to propel the Redbird men's basketball team (19-8, 11-5 MVC) to a 49-47 win over host Evansville at Roberts Stadium Wednesday night. ISU shot just 29.8 percent from the field, and converted only 14 field goals in the game.
Richardson and Emmanuel Holloway scored 10 points apiece, and Slack chipped in nine points to go along with 12 rebounds. Darin Granger (15 points) and Nate Garner (10) combined for 25 points to pace Evansville. ISU was playing its second-consecutive game without starting senior guard Dom Johnson.
ISU jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the early going after Osiris Eldridge hit a three-pointer, and Slack dunked in transition following a steal. But UE pulled within 5-4 at the first media timeout (15:47) after Garner countered with four quick points. ISU scored just one point in the ensuing 5:49, and called timeout with 11:58 remaining in the first half after the Purple Aces completed a 14-1 run.
ISU pulled within 16-13 at the 9:15 mark, but Evansville kept the pressure on, and claimed a 20-13 lead at the ensuing media timeout (6:47). The Redbirds called their second timeout just two minutes later, after the Aces strung together a quick 5-0 spurt to claim a 25-13 advantage. Shy Ely had two points, and Granger hit a three-pointer in the corner during the spree.
The Redbirds continued to chip away at Evansville's lead, and finished the half on a 7-2 run to pull within 27-20 heading into the locker room for intermission. Slack and Brandon Sampay combined for three free throws in the final 50 seconds.
The Redbirds converted just six first-half team field goals, and shot only 24percent from the field en route to their lowest one-half point total (20) of the season. Notably, Alex Rubin, who played five minutes in the opening stanza, hit one three-pointer, scoring his first points since Dec. 22 at Ball State.
The Redbirds scored the first four points of the second half, with Eldridge hitting two free throws, and Richardson adding a 15-footer from the elbow after an ensuing steal. The Purple Aces took their first timeout of the game leading by just two, 27-25, with 18:32 remaining. ISU tied the score at 29-29 after Eldridge hit a three-pointer from the top of the key, and Holloway split one-of-two free throws.
Evansville extended its lead to four, 38-34, at the half's third media timeout (7:31). Victor Gomez had six points in the stretch. The Redbirds had just four field goals in the opening 13 minutes of the second half, but it was still a two possession game. The Redbirds answered with a 5-0 spree, and took a 39-38 lead with 5:21 left after Richardson hit one-of-two free throws. ISU built its lead to two, 41-39, after Richardson converted a driving layup, but the Aces evened the score at 41-41 at the stanza's final media timeout (3:25).
Richardson hit two free throws out of the timeout, giving the Redbirds a 43-41 lead. But Granger countered with a trey to quickly give the 44-43 lead back to the Purple Aces. ISU called a timeout with 1:22 remaining, and Richardson followed with a driving layup to push the Redbirds' lead back to 45-44. Garner's two free throws reversed the lead again, before Dinma Odiakosa's post layup gave ISU the game-winner. Slack's two free throws with 11 seconds left secured the eventual 49-47 win.
Illinois State returns home Sunday to host Wright State in the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters series, jumpstarting a mini two-game homestand. Tip-off on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena is set for 5:30 p.m.