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Monday, Jan. 15

Comeback falls short for Redbirds, Richardson

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(Text copied from file received from Illinois State)

[JAN. 15, 2007]  DES MOINES, Iowa -- Boo Richardson entered Saturday's game with 12 points combined in Missouri Valley Conference action, but Illinois State's junior point guard poured in a career-high 24 points against Drake in the Redbirds' 70-66 loss at the Knapp Center. ISU overcame a 13-point, first-half deficit, but a pair of late turnovers proved costly in the defeat.

The victory was Drake's first in league play, as the Bulldogs improved to 10-7 overall and 1-5 in conference play. ISU falls to 9-8 on the year and 1-5 in league action.

The Redbirds and the Bulldogs traded baskets and the lead for the first 11 minutes of the game. Drake jumped out to a 9-5 lead at the 14:51 mark with five points coming at the hands of Nick Grant. ISU used a 10-2 run over the next three minutes, including three-point baskets from Dom Johnson and Brandon Holtz, and took a 15-11 lead, the Redbirds' largest of the half.

Drake proceeded to score the game's next seven points and held an 18-15 lead at the 10:05 mark. Levi Dyer's three-pointer at the 9:32 mark tied the score at 20-20, but the Redbirds endured a seven-minute scoring drought as Drake scored 13 straight points to take a 33-20 edge with 3:13 left. Boo Richardson ended the rut with 2:24 left in the half, while scoring seven straight points and making a steal in the final 30 seconds to set up Roberto Fortes' foul on a lay up attempt. Fortes sank one of the two free throws as the Redbirds trailed 33-28 at the break.

The Bulldogs held their five-point lead through the first five minutes of the second half. ISU's Johnson had the opportunity to tie the game at the 12:27 mark with a pair of free throws, but the Redbird junior hit only one as ISU trailed 40-39. Drake used an 8-2 run with five points coming from Grant to take a 48-41 lead at the 10:36 mark.

Again the Redbirds responded with a 9-2 run, thanks to five more points from Richardson, to tie the game at 50-50 with 8:23 left in the game. Dyer gave the Redbirds their first lead of the second half with a basket at the 6:48 mark, but back-to-back lay ups by Aliou Keita and Al Stewart gave the Bulldogs a 57-54 edge with 5:44 on the clock.

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Richardson drained his sixth three-pointer of the game at the 5:22 mark to force the fourth tie of the contest at 57-57. Drake's Stewart sank a pair of foul shots and Dyer countered with a basket as the two teams remained tied 59-59 with 3:34 left on the clock. Following a pair of ISU turnovers, Drake took a 63-59 lead on a pair of Ajay Calvin chip shots with 2:14 remaining.

ISU continued to battle down the stretch, but a missed free throw by Anthony Slack, an intentional foul called on Richardson and rushed three-pointer by Osiris Eldridge with 10 seconds remaining were too much to overcome.

Richardson shot 8-for-13 from the field and was 6-for-9 on threes. Dyer posted his first career double-double with a career-best 13 rebounds to go along with his 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Slack was also in double figures with 12 points thanks to a 6-for-7 shooting effort. Drake was led by Calvin and Grant, who finished with 19 and 15 points, respectively.

Illinois State returns to Redbird Arena on Monday night for the first of three straight home games. The Redbirds will host Missouri State for a 7:05 p.m. tip off.

[Box score]

[News release provided by Todd Kober, assistant athletics director, media relations, Illinois State University]

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