ISU Claims World Vision Invitational Title
Nov. 30, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - Junior guard Osiris Eldridge and senior guard Champ Oguchi had been trading late-game shooting sprees throughout the Redbirds' two previous games in the World Vision Invitational, but in Sunday's 87-59 victory by Illinois State (7-0) over UC-Santa Barbara (3-4), the duo matched their efforts basket-for-basket, to combine for 36 points in the Redbird win. Illinois State claimed its second-straight tournament title with the victory, the first time it has won multiple regular-season tournaments in the same season since the 1984-85 campaign.
The Redbirds' 7-0 start to their 2008-09 season is their best record to start a season since they won their first 12 games of the 1977-78 campaign.
Eldridge was named World Vision Invitational MVP, while teammates Oguchi and Emmaneul Holloway were named to the all-tournament team. Ryan Bathie of Nicholls, along with Jesse Byrd and Chris Devine of UC-Santa Barbara, were also named to the all-tournament team.
Eldridge and Oguchi led all scorers in the game with 18 points apiece. Two other Redbirds were in double-figures, as forwards Brandon Sampay and Dinma Odiakosa each produced 11 points. Holloway pulled down a career-high six rebounds.
Forward Jesse Byrd led the Gauchos in scoring with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds.
Oguchi continued his torrid shooting spree that he has displayed throughout the tournament early in the first half. Oguchi drained two three-pointers through the first five minutes of the game, while Eldridge added a three-pointer of his own, as ISU took a 17-10 lead at the 12-minute mark.
UCSB held close throughout the midway point of the first half, as a pair of layups by James Nunnally countered clutch shots by forward Brandon Sampay. The Redbirds then took a double-digit advantage (36-20) off a 9-0 run that was capped off by a sweeping layup through the lane by Emmanuel Holloway and baskets by five different Redbirds.
The Redbirds were able to take their 16-point lead after the Gauchos went over four minutes without scoring a field goal. Illinois State shot 65.4 percent from the field in the first half, its highest first-half field goal percentage of the season.
Illinois State increased its lead to 20 points (49-29) at the 17:42 mark in the second half off a jumper from Oguchi. Less than a minute later, a traditional three-point play by Dinma Odiakosa extended ISU's advantage to 55-33, as the Redbirds began to pull away from the Gauchos.
A pair of three-pointers by Oguchi and Eldridge near the 14-minute mark fueled a 10-3 run by the Redbirds, as ISU took a 65-37 lead at the midway point of the second half. The Gauchos made a minor offensive push late in the half after a pair of jumpers cut the Redbirds' lead to 67-46 with 6:27 remaining in the game.
Illinois State will return to action at 7:05 p.m. Saturday when it plays host to Bowling Green on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
For more information on the World Vision Invitational, hosted by Illinois State Athletics, please visit GoRedbirds.com, the official Web site of Illinois State Athletics.