Redbirds Top Indiana State, 77-59, In Regular Season Home Finale
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Feb. 26, 2014
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State (15-13, 9-8 Missouri Valley Conference) built a 20-point first-half lead and never trailed en route to a 77-59 victory over Indiana State (21-8, 12-5 MVC) Wednesday night at Redbird Arena. With the win, the Redbirds closed the home portion of the regular season schedule with a 12-3 record at Redbird Arena. Illinois State went 8-1 at home in the Valley, marking its best home conference record since posting an 8-1 campaign in 2009-10.
Three Redbirds scored in double-figures, paced by Daishon Knight's game-high 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Reggie Lynch set career-highs in points (16), blocks (5) and rebounds (8), and Zach Lofton tallied 16 points in the win. The Redbirds secured 11 assists on 24 baskets and out-rebounded the Sycamores, 35-34.
Dawon Cummings led Indiana State with 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting. Indiana State shot 37-percent from the floor (20-for-54) and committed 11 turnovers.
Both teams came out shooting and combined to make their first seven baskets. The Redbirds, who sank their opening six shot attempts, jumped on the board first with a three-point make from Nick Zeisloft and built a 15-6 advantage with consecutive-makes from Knight, Bobby Hunter and Lynch. Khristian Smith's layup snapped Illinois State's opening run, making it a 15-8 Redbird advantage with just over 15 minutes left to play in the opening half.
Leading 17-10, Lofton made three-straight baskets for Illinois State. The guard connected on consecutive three-point baskets before sinking a 15-foot fade-away jumper to extend the Illinois State lead to 25-12 with 11:18 to go in the half. The Redbirds made five of their first six three-point attempts. Knight made a layup for Illinois State, making it a 9-0 Redbird advantage. During the offensive spurt, the Redbirds kept the Sycamores without a field goal for over four minutes, a stretch in which Indiana State shot 0-for-7 from the floor.
A pair of Indiana State free-throws made it a 34-18 Illinois State lead with less than eight minutes to go in the first half. Brandon Burnett added a jumper to give Indiana State a 4-0 advantage, but Lofton responded with a long three-point make. Both teams exchanged baskets going into the half and Illinois State led 42-26 at the break.
The Redbirds shot 53-percent from the floor in the first half, adding nine assists on 16 baskets. Indiana State shot just 36-percent, including 0-of-8 from three-point range.
Both teams matched baskets for the first 3:30 of the final half, before Jake Ketchell was whistled a technical foul. Knight made all four free-throws to build Illinois State's lead to 53-33 with 16:30 to play.
Illinois State grew its advantage to 21 points, 58-37, on a 5-0 second half run with 12 minutes to go. Lynch made a pair of free throws, Hunter tallied a layup and Tony Wills added one point at the free throw line. Justin Gant snapped the Redbird run with a floater.
Indiana State powered a 10-0 to make it a 61-49 game with 7:21 to play. During that stretch, Illinois State was 0-for-3 from the floor. After exchanging baskets, Lofton drained a long two from just inside the arc, extending the Illinois State advantage to 71-53.
Indiana State cut its deficit to 12 points twice, but Illinois State held on over the final three minutes of the game to secure the win
Illinois State concludes the regular season Saturday, March 1, at Southern Illinois. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and begins at 3 p.m. in Carbondale, Ill.
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