NORMAL, Ill. – Senior guard Champ Oguchi registered his third-career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds to help Illinois State battle its way to a 69-65 victory over rival Bradley in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup Saturday afternoon on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. For the third time this season, Illinois State played in front of a sold-out (10,200) home crowd at Redbird Arena
Oguchi’s 12 points were part of four double-digit scoring efforts by Illinois State (18-4, 7-4 MVC). Senior guard Emmanuel Holloway led the effort with 15 points off 4-of-12 shooting and a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line. Junior guard Osiris Eldridge chipped in 13 points, while junior forward Dinma Odiakosa had 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field.
Bradley (13-9, 7-4 MVC) forward Theron Wilson led all scorers with 17 points, while Dodie Dunson had 15 points and Sam Maniscalco chipped in 14 points.
Illinois State went with its bread-and-butter shot – the three-pointer – early in the game. The Redbirds went on a 12-4 run at the start of the contest, a shooting spree that was fueled in part by three-pointers from Oguchi and Holloway. Illinois State capitalized on missed shots by Bradley early on, as the Braves were just 3-of-13 from the field at the midway point of the first half.
IISU’s scoring onslaught was short-lived, as Bradley went on its own scoring run, an 11-3 spurt, to cut the Redbirds’ lead down to just one point at 21-20 with six minutes remaining in the first half.
Bradley began to turn the scoring tide late in the first half thanks to timely offensive rebounds and stingy defensive play.
A traditional three-point play by Wilson tied the game at 23-23, and then the Braves took their first lead of the game, 25-23, off a steal and a layup by Darian Norris with 5:08 on the clock. Another three-pointer by Eldridge put an end to the Braves’ 15-4 scoring run that spanned five-and-a-half minutes.
After Illinois State went into halftime with a 34-29 lead, Bradley came out of the intermission and quickly produced five points to tie the score at 36-36, which marked just the third time in the game that the Braves were either tied with Illinois State or held a lead in the contest.
Back-to-back slam dunks by Eldridge pushed Illinois State back into action, as the Redbirds pushed their lead to 45-38 midway through the second half. ISU was unable to keep the momentum going, as Bradley continued to fight back with short jumpers and a clutch three-pointer by Dunson midway through the second half that kept the score nearly even with a four-point (47-43) Illinois State lead.
Following multiple tied scores and regained leads by both sides over the final five minutes, a pair of clutch free throws by Brandon Sampay in the final minute of the game, followed by a missed free throw off a jumper by Dunson, sealed the 69-65 victory for Illinois State.
Illinois State will return to action at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday when it travels to Carbondale, Ill., to take on Missouri Valley Conference foe Southern Illinois. That game will be broadcast live on The Valley TV Network.
Courtesy Illinois State Sports Information