NORMAL, Ill. – Jackie Carmichael scored a career-high 30 points, while adding a game-high nine rebounds, as Illinois State (7-3) topped Morgan State (3-4) 87-68, Sunday afternoon on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. Carmichael’s 30-point effort is the third for a Redbird this season, joining Bryant Allen (Nov. 23 vs. UAB) and Tyler Brown (Nov. 24 vs. Northwestern) who achieved the feat earlier this year.
Carmichael scored a large chunk of his points from the foul line, going 12-for-13 from the charity stripe. As a team, the Redbirds were 25-for-32 on free throws, a season-best. Seventeen of the makes came in the second half, as ISU held off a Morgan State charge for its second-consecutive win.
The Redbirds opened the game on a 7-2 run, with four points from Carmichael and a three-pointer from Jon Ekey to get ISU started. After a three-pointer from the Bears, Allen connected from deep to put ISU up 10-5. The Bears hit another three-pointer to climb back within 10-8 at the 15:45 mark.
The Bears evened the game at 10-10 on a driving baseline layup by Anthony Hubbard. However, ISU regained the lead with a 9-3 run over a 1:48 span. Nick Zeisloft scored his first points of the game with a three-pointer in transition, before a Jordan Threloff layup forced a Bear timeout, with the Redbirds up 19-13.
After a dunk by Johnny Hill at the 11:45 mark gave ISU a 21-15 lead, the Redbirds didn’t hit a field goal for the next 3:36. They maintained the lead by scoring six points from the free throw line during the stretch, before a Hill layup gave ISU its largest lead, 29-17, with 8:09 left in the half.
Allen scored four-straight ISU points to extend the Redbirds’ advantage to 33-20 at the 6:32 mark. After a bucket by the Bears, back-to-back baskets from Zeisloft and Carmichael put ISU up 37-22. Morgan State climbed back within 11 at 39-28 at the 3:07 mark, before the Redbirds closed the half on an 8-1 run to lead 47-29 at the break. Carmichael scored five points during that stretch to give him a game-high 13 first-half points, while Allen hit a floater with five seconds left to give him nine points, more than he scored in each of the last four games.
ISU opened the second half with six-straight points as part of a 10-2 run, pushing the lead to a game-high 57-32 at the 16:38 mark. Carmichael scored six points during the stretch, including four from the free throw line. The Bears responded, however, with a 14-2 run over the next 5:27, which included 10-straight points to pull back within 13 points at 59-46. The Redbirds went scoreless for 4:19 during the run, which ended when Hill found Carmichael for a layup at the 11:11 mark, extending ISU’s lead to 61-46.
The Bears kept up the pressure, scoring eight of the game’s next 11 points. A Carmichael turnover led to a fastbreak dunk by Dewayne Jackson made the score 64-54 with 9:42 left. Carmichael and Ekey each hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead back to 14, before Carmichael scored in the post to put ISU up 70-54 with 8:39 left in the contest.
The Bears continued to battle back, scoring six-straight points to climb back within 10 points at 70-60, with 7:06 left to play. The Redbirds endured another long field goal drought, this one spanning 4:11, before Carmichael emphatically ended it by dunking an alley-oop feed from Allen with 4:28 remaining, giving ISU a 76-63 lead. The dunk started a 9-0 run, as the Redbirds pushed the lead back to 83-63 with 2:53 left. Ekey capped the run with a three-pointer and two free throws, scoring ISU’s last nine points of the game overall to seal the win.
Ekey scored 18 points overall, a season-high. Allen added 13 points for the Redbirds, eclipsing the total offensive output from his previous four games of 12 points. Brown, the Redbirds’ leading scorer, was held to a season-low two points, and did not make a field goal.
Courtesy ISU sports information