Courtesy ISU Sports Information:
In a back-and-forth battle that featured nine ties and 18 lead changes, Illinois State (11-4, 3-1 MVC) got a three-pointer at the buzzer from junior forward Jackie Carmichael to come away with a 75-73 victory over Evansville (7-7, 2-2 MVC) Saturday on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
Carmichael threw up the three-pointer, the first made three-pointer in his three seasons at ISU, as time expired to finish the game and lead the Redbirds with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds. Tyler Brown chipped in 16 points in the win for the ‘Birds and Nic Moore rounded out a trio of Redbirds in double figures with 10 points. Evansville junior Colt Ryan led all scorers with 25 points, his fourth-straight game with 25 points or more scored, and was joined in double figures by Denver Holmes with 18 and Ryan Sawvell with 10.
Evansville took an early 4-1 lead, but a three-pointer from Jon Ekey kick-started a 10-2 run over four-plus minutes of play to give ISU an 11-6 lead at the 13:53 mark after a layup by Jordan Threloff. Back-to-back jumpers from Ryan and Sawvell cut the Redbird lead to 11-10 just a minute later and the Purple Aces regained the lead at 13-12 on a three-pointer by Holmes at the 11:12 mark. However, Moore quickly answered with a three-point basket of his own to give the Redbirds the lead back at 15-13. Another layup by Threloff extended the Redbird lead to 17-13, but a three-pointer by Evansville’s Jordan Nelson cut the ISU lead to one point again at 17-16.
With Illinois State leading 19-18, a jumper from Ryan put the Purple Aces back ahead at 20-19 with just over seven minutes left in the first half, but a layup by Moore kept the see-saw battle going and put Illinois State back up 21-20 with 6:33 left on the clock. Evansville took the lead once again after another three-pointer by Holmes made the score 24-23 with 4:21 left in the first half.
ISU took the lead back at 25-24 after a layup by John Wilkins, but Evansville answered with two free throws from Ryan and a layup by Sawvell to take a 28-25 lead and force ISU to call a timeout with just over two minutes left in the half. Evansville maintained a small lead and headed into the locker room with a three-point lead at 32-29, after two late free throws from Jaylon Moore. The first half featured nine lead changes and the score was tied four times in a back-and-forth first 20 minutes of play.
Evansville used a 6-2 run early in the second half to take a 40-33 lead after jumper by Ryan and maintained a seven-point lead at the 16:29 mark, but a jumper from Tyler Brown and a three-pointer from Bryant Allen cut the Evansville lead to 44-42 just a minute later. The Purple Aces answered with a quick 6-0 run, after a pair of free throws by Ryan, to take their largest lead of the game at 50-42, before another three-pointer from Allen cut the lead back to five at 50-45 with 13:09 left in the game.
The Redbirds extended that run to 11-2, capped off by a three-pointer from Anthony Cousin, to take their first lead of the second half at 53-52 with just over 10 minutes left. UE answered with a quick bucket from Ned Cox to get the lead right back at 54-53, before Brown hit from long distance to give ISU the lead back at 56-54 just seconds later. Ryan continued his hot shooting for Evansville and high back-to-back jumpers to give his team the lead back at 58-57 at the 7:36 mark and a jumper by Holmes extended the lead to 60-57 a minute later.
ISU would come back to tie the game at 62-62 with 5:40 left on a three-pointer by Moore, and the two squads exchanged baskets to a 68-68 tie with 1:45 left in the game after three-straight baskets from Carmichael. The Redbirds took the lead at 70-68 after a layup from Brown with 43 seconds left in the game and forced Evansville to call a timeout with 25 seconds left after a solid defensive effort.
After the timeout, Ryan nailed a three-pointer at the top of the key to take a 71-70 lead, but Moore took the ball coast-to-coast for a layup to give the Redbirds a 72-71 lead with 11 seconds left. Evansville got the ball across half court quickly and Ryan got a shot off that was partially blocked by Carmichael, but Lewis Jones corralled the rebound and hit both free throws with 2.8 seconds left on the clock to put the Purple Aces up 73-72.
Illinois State got one more shot and Threloff inbounded the ball with a full-court pass, which was grabbed by Carmichael who threw up a three-pointer from the corner and banked it in as time expired for the dramatic 75-73 win for the Redbirds.