Illinois State Returns to the Road; Faces Drake

Jan. 14, 2012

 Illinois State at Drake | Des Moines, Iowa
 Date  Sunday, January 15
 Des Moines, Iowa
 7:05 p.m. CT
 Drake Knapp Center
 Radio  WJBC 1230 AM, FM 93.7 (Dick Luedke - Play-by-Play | Mike Matthews - Analyst)
 Watch  Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus/ESPN3 (Kurt Pegler - Play-by-Play | Bob Morris - Analyst)
 Live Stats  Drake Stats
 Game Notes  Illinois State Notes


  • This game is critical for both teams to stay in the top half of the MVC standings. With equal 3-3 league marks, Illinois State and Drake are in a four-way tie for fourth place with Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois.
  • In each of the last two games, the Redbirds have had stellar individual second-half efforts. Both Nic Moore and Bryant Allen have scored 20 second-half points this week, with Moore's at Wichita State and Allen's against Creighton.
  • The Redbirds are 2-3 this season in road games, while Drake owns an 8-1 home mark.
  • Allen scored a career-best 29 points Friday night against No. 21 Creighton. It was the most points scored by a Redbird this season. In Allen's first three games this season, he was held scoreless. In his last five games, Allen has scored 68 points, or 13.6 points per game.
  • Illinois State is coming off a season-low three turnovers committed, which is now the Redbird Arena standard.
  • For the second time this season, the Redbirds have allowed the most points in the Tim Jankovich era at Illinois State. The Redbirds allowed 86 points at Southern Illinois on Jan. 1, but surrendered 87 points Friday against Drake.
  • Jankovich owns a 47-40 record (.540) against members of the Missouri Valley Conference during his time with the Redbirds, including a 42-36 (.538) mark in the regular season.
  • Under Jankovich, the Redbirds are 24-33 (.421) in road games.
  • Illinois State is in its 42nd season as a NCAA Division I program, and during that time, the Redbirds have only had eight losing seasons.
  • Jankovich is the first coach in league history to lead his team to back-to-back Valley (@MVCSports) Tournament title games in his first two seasons.
  • The Redbirds have made 17 postseason appearances, including NIT berths in three of the last four seasons.


  • Drake is located in Des Moines, Iowa, and has an enrollment of 5,668. The Bulldogs are members of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bulldogs were projected to finish seventh in the Valley, according to the league's preseason poll.
  • The Bulldogs return four starters from a team that finished 13-18 overall.
  • Rayvonte Rice was named the MVC Preseason Honorable Mention team.
  • Junior Ben Simons has scored in double-figures in seven-straight games, including a game-high 17 at Evansville Friday.

    Sophomore Bryant Allen arrived on campus as a member of the Redbird football team. After his 29-point outburst against Creighton, Allen is proving himself as a legitimate threat on the hardwood. Allen's 29 tallies were the most scored by a Redbird this season and the most since Dinma Odiakosa poured in 30 points against Missouri State on Feb. 17, 2010.

    Last Meeting
    Illinois State
    Jan. 30, 2011
    NORMAL, Ill.
    Redbirds Defeat Bulldogs in Overtime, 77-75
    Austin Hill continued his torrid overtime scoring with four points in the extra period, as Illinois State held on to its third-straight Missouri Valley Conference victory with a 77-75 overtime win over Drake on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena Sunday afternoon, in front of 5,016 fans.

    In the last two games, Illinois State has gotten an individual 20-point second-half effort in each game. At Wichita State, Nic Moore was 6-for-8 from the field and 2-for-4 on threes in the second half. He finished with 23 points. Friday, against Creighton, Bryant Allen shot 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-7 on threes during the second half. He posted a game-best 29 points.

    For the first time this season, Illinois State enters a game on a two-game losing streak. With back-to-back losses, the Redbirds are 4-2 this season when coming off a loss and 32-24 (.571) under Tim Jankovich.

    ISU's Jackie Carmichael has scored in double-figures 11 times this season and has grabbed eight or more rebounds in eight games. As a result, Carmichael is averaging 12.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

    GIVE ME A "D"
    Over the last three games, Illinois State's team defense has been out of character. During the span, Redbird opponents are shooting 51.6 percent from the field and are averaging 75 points per game.

    Illinois State didn't give Creighton many chances for a turnover Friday night, as the Redbirds committed a season-low three turnovers. Over the last two games, the Redbirds have combined for only 12 turnovers with back-to-back single-digit errors marking the only time this season with less than 10 turnovers.

    During the non-conference portion of the schedule, Illinois State freshman Nic Moore averaged 8.1 points per contest, while shooting 39.1 percent from the floor. In league games, Moore has picked up his game and is posting 10.7 points per contest, while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

    Freshman Nic Moore tossed in a career-best 23 points at Wichita State and became the first Illinois State freshman to score 20-plus points in a Missouri Valley Conference game since current teammate Jackie Carmichael dropped in 20 points at Evansville on Jan. 6, 2010.

    After Bryant Allen's career-high 29 points against Creighton, ISU now has eight players on the roster who have scored at least 20 points in an NCAA Division I game. Jackie Carmichael has six 20-point efforts in his career, including two this season, while Anthony Cousin, John Wilkins, Tyler Brown, Nic Moore and Jon Ekey have each posted one 20-point game. Trey Blue had a 20-point effort while playing at Fordham.

    Entering the game against Evansville, Jackie Carmichael was 0-for-3 from three during his career. But, with 2.8 seconds remaining, Carmichael banked home his first-career triple from the left side at the buzzer to lift the Redbirds to a 75-73 win over the Purple Aces. The shot resulted in ESPN's Top Play of the Day.

    Illinois State has held eight opponents this season to under 40 percent shooting, including four of the last eight, and three teams to under 30 percent.

    Junior college transfer Tyler Brown has made at least one three-pointer in 14 of his last 15 games and is leading the team with 39 made threes and a 44.8 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Brown is leading the Valley with 2.4 made three-point field goals per contest. He has also posted double-digit scoring totals in four of the last five games.

    Redbird sophomore Jon Ekey collected two double-digit scoring games during his first season at Illinois State, but this season he already has posted nine double-figure games. He also added a string of three-straight double-digit rebound games, but has been slowed the last two contests with an ankle sprain.

    Following the 68-36 win over Norfolk State, head coach Tim Jankovich announced in his postgame media conference that the team will start having a rotation for the starting five among six players. Those six players - Tyler Brown, Jackie Carmichael, Anthony Cousin, Jon Ekey, Nic Moore and John Wilkins - have accounted for all the starts this season and a combination of five will be selected each game.

    ISU has had six different players account for this season's starting lineup, yet none of them are from the state of Illinois. The 'Birds have started players from Kansas (Jackie Carmichael), Missouri (Jon Ekey), Alaska (Anthony Cousin), Indiana (Nic Moore), Kentucky (Tyler Brown) and France (John Wilkins).

    Sophomore Bryant Allen was scoreless after his first three games in a Redbird uniform, but in his last five he has totaled 68 points, or 13.6 points per game. In three of the games, Allen scored in double-figures, including a career-best 29 against Creighton.

    Freshman Nic Moore has dished out at least three assists in 13 games this season. He leads the team with 63 dimes and boasts a 1.66 assist-to-turnover ratio. Moore has dished out five or more assists in a game five different times this season, each a Redbird victory.

    Illinois State is averaging 8.6 made three-pointers per game this season, which is second-best in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Redbirds are also tied for No. 14 nationally in treys per game. In the Tim Jankovich-era, the Redbirds have made 1,044 threes, or 6.9 treys per game.

    The fate of Illinois State's basketball team can pretty much be decided by only 20 minutes of play. In the Tim Jankovich-era, the Redbirds boast a 69-10 (.873) mark when leading at the half. In addition, ISU owns a 84-7 mark (.923) under Jankovich when leading with five minutes remaining in regulation.

    Heading into the Illinois game, junior Anthony Cousin had totaled nine assists and 14 turnovers on the season for a 0.64 assist-to-turnover ratio. However, after an eight assist effort against the Fighting Illini without a single turnover, Cousin has come full circle and has 38 assists over the last 13 games with only 14 turnovers, for a 2.71 assist-to-turnover ratio during that span.

    Tyler Brown has been sinking treys this season at a mad clip. He's shooting 44.8 percent from beyond the arc, and as a result ranks No. 18 nationally in three-point field goal percentage, among players who are averaging at least 2.5 made threes per game. At this rate, Brown would have the highest three-point percentage by the Redbird since Levi Dyer shot 48.0 percent during the 2006-07 season.

    Illinois State got a jump on the 2011-12 season with a four-game tour to Canada in August. The Redbirds posted a 2-2 mark, while facing off against collegiate programs in Canada, as well as professional all-star teams. In addition to the four games, the Redbirds were also granted, per NCAA rules, 10 days of practice leading up to the trip.

    Last season, Illinois State's Jon Ekey and Jackie Carmichael became the first set of Missouri Valley Conference teammates to finish the regular-season ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in blocked shots since the 1986-87 season. Ekey finished the year with 52 swats (1.7 bpg.), while Carmichael added 36 rejections (1.2 bpg.). The duo has combined for 33 blocked shots this season, with Carmichael posting a team-best 24 rejections.

    Illinois State has a pair of players this season who were runner-up for Mr. Basketball in their respective home state. Junior Anthony Cousin was runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Alaska in 2008, while in 2011, Nic Moore was runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Indiana.

    THAT 70's SHOW
    ISU's success during the Tim Jankovich-era has been pretty much based on 70 points. When the Redbirds score 70 or more points, Illinois State owns a 53-12 record (.815) in his five seasons. When ISU opponent's score less than 70 points, the Redbirds are 79-29 (.731) during that span.

    Illinois State enters the Drake game with at least one made three in 381-straight games. The last time ISU didn't sink a trey was an 82-43 loss at Creighton, Dec. 12, 1999.

    North Chicago High School point guard Aaron Simpson and Anthony Beane Jr., a product of Normal Community High School and the son of Illinois State assistant basketball coach Anthony Beane Sr., will continue their collegiate and basketball careers at Illinois State, after each signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the NCAA early signing period. Last season, Simpson averaged 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, while sinking 71 three-point field goals. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior also led North Chicago to a fourth-place finish at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 3A State Tournament. Beane, who was named the 2011 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, started the last two seasons at NCHS and averaged 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game last year. He led the Ironmen to a fourth-place finish at the IHSA Class 4A State Tournament.