Missouri State and Illinois State finished tied for fourth place in the MVC with 9-9 league records. The Bears also earned two All-MVC honors, as Jarmar Gulley (Sr., F, Beaumont, Texas) was named to the All-MVC Second Team and Austin Ruder (Fr., G, Nixa, Mo.) was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team.
WHERE TO WATCH: ILLINOIS STATE VS. MISSOURI STATE
Comcast SportsNet Chicago: Comcast: 56, 522, 922; DirecTV: 665; Dish: 429; AT&T U-Verse: 741; 1741
FOX Sports Midwest: Comcast: 57, 535, 519, 959; DirecTV: 671; Dish: 418, 5418; AT&T U-Verse: 748;1748
MVC TV: DirecTV: 671; Dish: 418; AT&T U-Verse: 748, 1748
ESPN Full Court: Comcast: 835
ESPN3 (subject to blackouts): http://es.pn/1d1UVyv
LAST MEETING: ISU HOLDS ON FOR 67-63 VICTORY OVER MISSOURI STATE
NORMAL, Ill. (Feb. 18, 2014) - A smothering Illinois State defense forced 21 turnovers from Missouri State, the most for the Bears since 2007, and clutch shots in the second half was the difference as the Redbirds (15-12, 8-7 MVC at the time) defeated the Bears (17-10, 7-8 MVC), 67-63, on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. Daishon Knight led five Redbirds in double figures with 17 points and added five assists and rebounds in the win. Bobby Hunter added 14 points, Nick Zeisloft finished with 11 points and Paris Lee and Reggie Lynch each added 10 points. Lynch added four blocks as well, tying him at the time with Jackie Carmichael for No. 2 on the single-season list with 68.
VS. MISSOURI STATE THIS SEASON
Illinois State and Missouri State split their two games this season, with the home team winning each time. Daishon Knight led the Redbirds, averaging a team-best 16.0 points and 6.0 rebounds throughout the two games against MSU. Meanwhile, Bobby Hunter averaged 12.5 points and 5.0 rebounds, and Paris Lee and Reggie Lynch both averaged 10.0 points versus Missouri State.
Jan. 2, Springfield, Mo.: Missouri State 78, Illinois State 70 (OT)
After ISU led for nearly 39 minutes, the Bears came from behind to force overtime and ultimately beat the Redbirds, 78-70. ISU shot a season-best 58.1 percent in the first half but was held to 34.6 percent in the second. Meanwhile, Missouri State went 4-for-5 and outscored the Redbirds, 12-4, in the five-minute overtime period. Daishon Knight led Illinois State with 15 points and seven rebounds, plus four assists.
Feb. 18, Normal, Ill.: Illinois State 67, Missouri State 63
Illinois State forced Missouri State to commit 21 turnovers, the most for the Bears since 2007, as the Redbirds defeated the Bears, 67-63. Daishon Knight led five Redbirds in double figures with 17 points plus five assists and rebounds. In a game that was tight throughout, the Bears cut ISU's lead to two points at 65-63 on a layup by Devon Thomas with 10 seconds left. However, Paris Lee made two free throws to put the Redbirds up by four, and MSU's final shot attempt fell short as ISU came away with the victory.
VS. MISSOURI STATE AT THE MVC TOURNAMENT
Friday's Missouri Valley Conference quarterfinal matchup between Illinois State and Missouri State marks the sixth meeting between the two teams at the MVC Tournament. The last time that ISU faced MSU in St. Louis, Mo., it was also in a quarterfinal matchup, and the Redbirds won, 63-58, March 7, 2008.
Defeated Missouri State in four-straight MVC Tournament matchups.
Defeated Missouri State twice to win the MVC Tournament title (in 1997 and 1998).
Illinois State is:
38-28 in the MVC Tournament.
21-18 in MVC Tournament games played at Scottrade Center.
21-7 in MVC Tournament quarterfinal games.
Illinois State has:
Won four MVC Tournament titles (1983, 1990, 1997, 1998).
Won its quarterfinal matchup in five out of the last six seasons.
Not won the MVC Tournament title since current head coach Dan Muller was a senior player (1998).
TIED FOR FOURTH
Illinois State had a chance to finish as high as No. 3 in the final Missouri Valley Conference standings on the final day of the regular season (March 1); however, ISU had to beat Southern Illinois and the Redbirds also needed Northern Iowa and Missouri State to both lose. While MSU fell at Wichita State, UNI held off Indiana State on the road, and ISU narrowly fell at SIU. Therefore, non-conference strength of schedule (NCSS) was utilized to break the three-way tie for fourth place (between ISU, MSU and SIU) after ISU, MSU and SIU all split their regular-season meetings. The Redbirds (16-14, 9-9 MVC) earned the league's fourth-highest NCSS (135), while Missouri State (19-11, 9-9 MVC) ranked No. 3 (126) and SIU (13-19, 9-9 MVC) was No. 8 (245). ISU secured its 22nd (out of 33) season with a .500-or-better league record.
KNIGHT AND LYNCH EARN ALL-MVC ACCOLADES
Illinois State junior guard Daishon Knight and freshman center Reggie Lynch each garnered two All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in recognition of their efforts during the 2013-14 regular season, as released by the league office Tuesday morning. Knight was named to the All-MVC Honorable Mention Team and the All-Newcomer Team, while Lynch earned a spot on the All-Newcomer Team and the All-Freshman Team. ISU has not placed a freshman on both the MVC All-Freshman and All-Newcomer Teams since Osiris Eldridge accomplished the feat in 2007. It is also the first time since 2007 that the Redbirds have earned two out of five spots on the All-Newcomer Team. Meanwhile, Knight's MVC Honorable Mention is Illinois State's first since 2008.
Despite Illinois State featuring the least-experienced team in the nation, this year's Redbird squad (which includes eight newcomers to NCAA Division I basketball on the current active roster) has exceeded expectations by finishing above the seventh-place prediction made in the 2013-14 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll. With ISU's win over Indiana State (Feb. 26), the Redbirds secured their third-consecutive winning season which is also the sixth in the last seven years.
LYNCH LEADS FINAL CHARGE
Illinois State freshman center Reggie Lynch is the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week (released March 2) after averaging 13.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 1.0 steals in 23.5 minutes per contest in ISU's two games last week against Indiana State and Southern Illinois, during the final week of the regular season. Lynch's honor marks the sixth MVC Newcomer of the Week award for ISU in 2013-14, which is more than any other team received this season. It also signifies the second-most MVC Newcomer of the Week accolades earned by Illinois State in program history, with the Redbirds receiving seven honors in 2006-07. Lynch is the first Redbird freshman to earn the award since 2011.
Even though Illinois State center Reggie Lynch is a freshman, he is already building a legacy in the Redbird and Missouri Valley Conference record books.
BLOCKS: Lynch is now in sole-possession of second place on the ISU single-season blocks list and is tied for ninth on the career-blocks list, with 79 stuffs. Jeff Wilkins holds the single-season record with 103 in 1976-77. Lynch already set the record for most freshman blocks, by surpassing the previous-high of 52 earlier this year, and he is currently pursuing the MVC freshman blocks record of 92, set by Creighton's Benoit Benjamin in 1982-83. Lynch is now in sole possession of second on the MVC freshman blocks list after passing Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant (2004-05) who had 75 blocks. Lynch leads the league and ranks No. 31 nationally with 2.6 blocks per game.
FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Lynch is currently shooting 96-for-154 (62.3 percent) from the field, which puts him on pace for a few more spots in the ISU record book. While Lynch has to make four more field goals to achieve the required 100-minimum, he currently ranks No. 1 in ISU freshman field goal percentage (the current record is 45.7 percent by Billy Lewis in 1974-75) and No. 5 on the single-season field goal percentage list. Lynch ranks second in the MVC behind Evansville's Egidijus Mockevicius (63.1).
Illinois State appears to be peaking at the right time, as four Illinois State players have earned career-scoring highs in four out of the last six games. Reggie Lynch most-recently totaled career-bests in points (16), rebounds (8) and blocks (5) during ISU's win over Indiana State (Feb. 26). Lynch has reached double-figures in four out of the last five games. Before that, Zach Lofton netted a career-best 24 points on a career-high eight field goals in ISU's loss at Northern Iowa (Feb. 23), Daishon Knight scored a career-best 26 points on a career-high five three-pointers in ISU's win over Bradley (Feb. 15), and Nick Zeisloft tallied a career-best 18 points in the Redbirds' narrow loss at Evansville (Feb. 12).
STEALING THE SHOW
Illinois State junior guard Bobby Hunter leads the Redbirds and is tied for No. 5 in the league with 1.6 steals per game. Hunter's 49 total steals this season are the most by a Redbird since Lloyd Phillips forced 60 during the 2009-10 season. Tyler Brown led ISU last season with 46 steals.
KNIGHT'S NEWCOMER NODS
For a program-record fourth time, junior guard Daishon Knight was the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week (Feb. 17). Knight - who is the first-ever Redbird to earn MVC Newcomer of the Week four times - passed Boo Richardson's former record of three honors during the 2006-07 season. Knight and Loyola freshman Milton Doyle both finished with four Valley Newcomer of the Week honors in 2013-14.
UNDER 70 SUCCESS
The Redbirds - who rank second in league-field goal percentage defense (42.8 percent) - have statistically proven that holding teams under 70 points is a recipe for success. ISU is 13-3 when holding its opponents to 69 points or less this season. Conversely, ISU is 3-11 when its opponents net 70 or more points. Defense has been key this season, as Illinois State is 7-2 when the Redbirds force 10 or more steals and 10-5 when ISU forces more turnovers. Illinois State is 8-3 when the Redbirds outrebound their opponent.
ISU's primary zone defense has continued to effectively challenge the opposition since the Redbirds began utilizing it in their fifth game of the season. Illinois State currently ranks No. 2 in field goal percentage defense (42.8 percent) among Missouri Valley Conference teams. With ISU's four-guard lineup - including redshirt junior Bobby Hunter and freshman guard Paris Lee who both rank in the top-10 among Valley players with averages of 1.6 and 1.4, respectively - the Redbirds lead the Valley in steals (7.8) per game. With freshman center and league-leading shot blocker Reggie Lynch in the middle of the zone, ISU ranks second in league-blocks (4.6), and ISU is No. 2 in defensive rebounds, with 24.7 per game.
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