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Tuesday, Jan. 16

Dyer scores career-high 23 points as MSU defeats 'Birds          Send a link to a friend

(Text copied from file received from Illinois State)

[JAN. 16, 2007]  NORMAL -- Junior Levi Dyer set a career high with 23 points and senior Greg Dilligard tallied 13 points and became the school's all-time leading shot blocker, but a late Illinois State men's basketball team rally wasn't enough as Missouri State held on to down the Redbirds 75-66, Monday at Redbird Arena.

The loss dropped the Redbirds' record to .500 overall at 9-9 (1-6 MVC) for the first time since Nov. 25. The Bears would finish the game off hitting six free throws to improve their record to 14-4 (5-2 MVC).

After trailing throughout the second half, Illinois State cut the lead to 65-63 with 1:41 left in the game after back-to-back baskets by Dilligard, but the Bears answered with a Nathan Bilyeu jumper from the left side and a layup by Deven Mitchell off a Dom Johnson turnover to build their lead back up 69-64.

Illinois State stayed close all night despite only having two players in double digits, thanks to forcing 17 turnovers that led to 23 points. However, while the 'Birds held the Bears to only 38 shots, MSU took full advantage of those shots,  nailing 66 percent from the floor, including 8-of-12 from distance.

Missouri State had four players in double figures, led by senior Blake Ahearn with 17 points.

The first half began with the Redbirds jumping out to an early 7-2 lead at the 16:50 mark after a 3-point shot from Richardson and a pair of baskets inside by Dyer and Dilligard. The lead was short-lived as Missouri State proceeded to go on an 8-0 run over the next 3:08 minutes, capped off by a 3-pointer by the Bears' Tyler Chaney to take the lead 10-7.

The two teams would swap baskets before Missouri State went on a 15-3 run that put some distance between themselves and Illinois State, giving MSU the 25-15 advantage with 4:41 left in the half. The Bears' run was keyed by 3-point buckets from Ahearn, Dale Lamberth and Spencer Laurie.

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Illinois State would end the half on a 14-7 run of its own to cut the lead the Bears' lead at intermission to 32-29. The Redbird run was fueled by Osiris Eldridge and Dyer, who contributed five and four points, respectively

The second half began with ISU scoring the first point on a free throw at the 19:35 mark by Dilligard to cut the lead to 32-30. Two minutes later Dilligard became the Redbirds' all-time leading shot blocker with 144 career blocks, when he swatted MSU's Kyle Rausch at the 17:21 mark.

The Redbirds would get no closer to the Bears, who built their lead as large as nine, until Dom Johnson hit a 3-point basket that brought the crowd to its feet bringing ISU within one point at 54-53 with 7:21 left in the game.

Missouri State would stabilize their lead immediately with Ahearn hitting a shot from beyond the arc that started a 7-0 run that built the Bears' lead back up to 61-53 with 6:06 remaining.

The Redbird basketball team will return to Redbird Arena for game two of its three-game homestand on Thursday when it faces Wichita State. Tipoff between the 'Birds and the Shockers is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

[News release from Jeff Salmon, Illinois State University]

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