NORMAL, Ill. – With Illinois State down by two, a soaring Jackie Carmichael’s slam dunk from the baseline fueled an 11-0 run during the final 5:15 of the first half, as Illinois State (7-3) kept the lead en route to a 53-43 win over Illinois-Chicago (4-6) Saturday night on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
Along with Carmichael’s four points, the Manhattan, Kan., native blocked two shots and moved into 10th place on ISU’s top-10 list for blocked shots. Austin Hill scored a team-best 15 points in the Redbird victory, which marked his 12th double digit scoring effort of his career.
Illinois State’s leading rebounder and shot-blocker was John Wilkins, with six boards and a career-high three blocked shots, while Blake Mishler grabbed a season-best five boards. Alex Rubin chipped in a season-best three assists in the winning effort, while the Redbird defense teamed up for five blocks and five steals.
Tony Lewis established Illinois State’s post-presence early, scoring four of the Redbirds’ first six points in the paint and collecting a rebound within the first three minutes of the game. With ISU leading 6-3, UIC responded, going on a 5-2 run to take an 11-8 lead, but jumpers by Carmichael and Rubin allowed the Redbirds to regain a 12-11 advantage. After a 4:26 scoring drought for each team, UIC’s Paul Carter broke the lid off the basket with a layup and a free throw after he was fouled. Illinois State snapped its 6:42 scoring drought with a layup by Lewis.
The Redbirds tied the game on Carmichael’s slam dunk with 5:15 left in the first half and forced a UIC turnover on the next possession. After the turnover, Hill proceeded to hit a 15-foot jumper to give ISU a 20-18 lead. The Redbirds extended their advantage with free throws by Hill, a three-pointer by Anthony Cousin and a jumper by Jon Ekey, which gave ISU a 27-18 halftime lead.
Robbins scored the first basket of the second half for the Flames, as UIC went on a 6-2 run to pull within five, 29-24. However, Blake Mishler stopped the streak with a turn-around jumper, and a tip-in by Ekey extended ISU’s lead to nine.
UIC’s Robo Kreps broke a 5:24 scoring drought for the Flames with a fast-break layup midway through the second half, but the Redbirds proceeded to outscore Illinois-Chicago 11-2, with four more baskets by Mishler to give Illinois State a 44-28 advantage, which was their largest of the game, with 6:33 left in the game. UIC pulled within ten in the final minute, but the Redbirds held on for the non-conference victory.
Courtesy ISU Sports Information