Behind a record barrage of three-pointers, Illinois State (5-2) defeated Chicago State (0-7) by a score of 85- 41 before 3,858 fans at Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. The Redbirds’ 38 three-point attempts were the most in school history, and the Redbirds’ 14 made three-pointers tied a Redbird Arena record for Illinois State.
Illinois State’s 44-point margin of victory was its largest since it defeated Carthage, 96-40, on November 29, 1980, and the 85 points for ISU were a season-high and the most since the 2010 season-opener against SIU Edwardsville. Sophomore forward Jon Ekey scored a season-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead the way for the Redbirds. Junior guard Tyler Brown paced the Redbirds from behind the arc, sinking a career-high six three-pointers on his way to 18 total points.
Both teams struggled early on to convert shots from the field. In the first five minutes of play, both squads combined to shoot just 4-of-15. Due to Chicago State’s zone defense, it was quickly apparent that a majority of Illinois State shots would come from beyond the arc. As the first half progressed, the Redbirds began to heat up from the field. Thanks to Brown’s four first-half threes, the Redbirds would finish the half 8-of-20 from behind the arc.
After a timeout at 15:18, the Redbirds began to pull away as Chicago State continued to remain ineffective from the field. As the Cougars endured a first half field goal drought that lasted nearly seven minutes, the Redbirds capitalized by pulling out to a double-digit lead. Freshman guard Nic Moore provided an early spark by sinking a couple three-pointers on his way to eight points from the bench. Consecutive dunks by sophomore forward Ekey put the Redbirds up by 15 with 6:57 left in the first half.
The Redbirds would pull out to their largest lead of the first half, 24 points, after a Zeke Upshaw three pointer at 2:59 gave them a 38-14 advantage. A brief 7-0 run by the Cougars reduced the deficit late, but Ekey responded with a dunk and buzzer beating layup to put the Redbirds up 42-21 to close out the first half.
Chicago State’s fortunes did not change in the second half, as it took nearly three minutes for the Cougars to make their first field goal. A three pointer from Brown at 12:33 put the Redbirds up by 31 with a score of 60-29 and they led by as many as 44 points after Darious Clark converted on a layup with 35 seconds left to play.
The Redbirds’ final line of 38 three-point attempts also tied an overall Redbird Arena record that was previously set by Southern Illinois in 1995. Chicago State’s Matt Samuels paced the Cougars’ effort, finishing with 22 points to go along with five steals.
The Redbirds will finish their three game home stand Saturday at 7:05 p.m., when they welcome the Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington to Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
article courtesy ISU Sports Information