Illinois State forwards Jackie Carmichael and Tony Lewis each scored in double figures for the Redbirds, but it was not enough as Illinois State (6-3) came up short on two late shots and suffered a close 67-65 loss to non-conference foe Ohio (5-3) Wednesday night on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
Carmichael scored 16 points and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds for the Redbirds and Lewis recorded his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 boards. John Wilkins also had a solid night, with nine points and a career-high nine rebounds, and Austin Hill added nine points and four assists. Ohio’s D.J. Cooper led all scorers with 29 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field and dished out eight assists, while teammate Nick Kellogg tossed in 19 points thanks to a 5-for-7 effort from three-point range.
ISU jumped out to a 7-0 lead when Alex Rubin connected from three-point range at the 16:37 mark, just before Ohio scored its first three points of the game on a three-pointer on the other end of the floor to make the score 7-3. A fast-break layup from Hill extended the Redbirds’ lead to 9-3, before the Bobcats cut the lead to three when Cooper was fouled on his layup attempt and made the free throw to convert the three-point play and make the score 9-6.
Rubin’s second three-pointer of the half later extended the ISU lead to 14-6 with 12:46 remaining in the first half. Ohio countered with a jumper from DeVaughn Washington and a layup from T.J. Hall to narrow the advantage to 14-10, but Wilkins answered with a traditional three-point play to extend the lead back to seven points at 17-10 with just under ten minutes left.
Ohio fired back with an 8-3 run, highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Cooper, to cut the Illinois State lead to 20-18 and sliced the lead to just one point at 22-21 after a three-pointer from Kellogg at the 5:04 mark. However, the Bobcats could not take the lead as the Redbirds maintained for the remainder of the half to head to the locker room with a 29-27 advantage.
The second half started as Ohio tied the game for the first time, courtesy of a pair of free throws from Kellogg before a layup from Lewis a minute later put the Redbirds up once again. Anthony Cousin was then fouled on his layup attempt and made a free throw to extend the lead to five points at 34-29, before the Bobcats quickly tied the game at 34-34 after Kellogg’s fourth three-pointer of the game.
The Bobcats finally got over the hump and took their first lead of the game at the 14:16 mark, when Washington stole the ball from Hill and ran the other way for the fast-break dunk to make the score 39-37. Hill redeemed himself and answered with a jumper to tie the score for the fourth time in the first six minutes of the half. Both teams traded baskets before the Bobcats extended the lead to three points at 45-42 after a layup by Hall, but a three-pointer from Wilkins tied it once again at 45-45 with 11:14 left in the game.
Illinois State regained the lead a minute later on a jumper by Carmichael, but it would not last long as Kellogg made his fifth three-pointer of the game to put the Bobcats up 48-47. The seesaw battle continued as a layup by Lewis gave the Redbirds a 49-48 lead with just over seven minutes remaining and Justin Clark converted a traditional three-point play to extend the lead to 52-48. Clark hit a three-pointer just a minute later from beyond the arch to give the ‘Birds a 55-50 advantage.
Once again, that lead would be short-lived as the five-straight points from Cooper knotted the score at 55-55. The score was tied soon after at 57-57, before Lewis converted a three-point play and Carmichael connected on a jumper in the paint to widen the lead back to five points at 62-57 with 3:47 left in the game.
Ohio fought back and Cooper capped off an 8-0 run with a jumper to give the Bobcats a 65-62 lead with just 2:11 left. The Redbirds came right back and tied the game at 65-65 on a pair of free throws from Lewis with 1:26 left on the clock, but Cooper struck again and converted a layup to put the Ohio up 67-65 with just 31 seconds left in the game. ISU had a pair of shots at the basket over the final seconds of play, but both shots missed and Ohio came away with the victory in a second half that featured ten ties and seven lead changes.
The Redbirds will wrap up their seven-game homestand Saturday, Dec. 11, when they face off against in-state foe UIC. The game will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Redbird Arena.
Article courtesy ISU Sports Information