Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Sports News

2nd-half surge leads Redbirds past the Knights 91-58

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[November 21, 2012]  NORMAL -- Illinois State and Fairleigh Dickinson were locked in a tight game through the first 20 minutes of play, but the Redbirds (4-0) jumped out to a 30-5 run to begin the second half and pulled away from the Knights (0-3) for a 91-58 victory in the second game of the South Padre Island Invitational on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena Tuesday night.

With their 91 points, the Redbirds extended their streak of games with 80-plus points to four in a row to start the season. The team had not accomplished that since the beginning of the 1977-78 campaign, when the ’Birds also ripped off four consecutive wins when scoring 80 or more points.

Senior Jackie Carmichael led the way for the Redbirds with 17 points and a game-high seven rebounds, and Bryant Allen added a season-best 16 points. Johnny Hill chipped in 11 points and Jon Ekey rounded out the quartet of Redbird players in double figures with 10 points. Freshman point guard Kaza Keane was held scoreless for the first time this season, but dished out a career-high nine points in the victory for the Redbirds.

Fairleigh Dickinson jumped out to the early 3-0 lead with a 3-pointer by Melquan Bolding just over a minute into the game. The Redbirds settled down from there and went on a quick 7-0 run over the next 1:18 seconds to take a 7-3 advantage. Allen then tied the game up with a 3-pointer of his own, and a tip-in by Tyler Brown and a jumper by John Wilkins gave ISU the early advantage.

The Knights regained the lead with a 5-0 run, after a layup by Lonnie Robinson made the score 8-7 with 15:26 left on the clock. The back-and-forth play continued and ISU answered with a 10-2 run, capped off on a 3-pointer by Wilkins, to take the lead back at 17-10. The Redbirds would extend that lead to 10 points at the 7:30 mark of the first half, after a pair of free throws by Brown that made the score 28-17.

Both teams fought hard over the next few minutes and traded baskets, before the Knights put together a 9-4 run to cut the Redbird lead to 32-26 with 4:53 left in the first half. The Knights ended the run with five straight points, thanks to a layup from Bolding and a 3-pointer from Mustafaa Jones. A jumper by Mathias Seilund then cut the lead to 34-30, but a 3-point play on a driving layup from Hill widened the ISU lead back to seven points at 37-30 with 2:32 left in the half.

The Knights refused to back down, and a 3-pointer from the corner by Robinson cut the lead back to four points at 37-33, before Carmichael sank a pair of free throws to build the lead back to six points. Allen then added a jumper with five seconds left to give ISU a 41-33 lead headed into the locker room at halftime.

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ISU came out of the locker room on a roll, scoring the first 10 points of the second half to take a 51-33 lead. Carmichael scored on a pair of layups, and 3-pointers by Ekey and Allen gave the Redbirds a comfortable lead to that point. The lead would continue to grow for the ’Birds, as a layup by Jordan Threloff extended an 8-0 run and upped the lead to 62-38, which forced FDU head coach Greg Vetrone to call a timeout with 13:22 left in the second half.

Points continued to mount in the Redbirds’ favor, as the lead grew to 33 points at 71-38 after a tip-in by Ekey and an alley-oop from Brown to Carmichael extended the run to 17-0. Fairleigh Dickinson finally snapped a scoreless streak that took 5:40 off the clock, when Bolding scored on a fast-break layup, but the points were answered quickly when Brown sank a pair of free throws.

ISU would lead by as much as 34 points, when Zeke Upshaw buried a jumper from the top of the key with 4:54 left in the game to make the score 82-48. The Redbirds would never look back, as they cruised to the 91-58 victory.

The Redbirds will head to South Padre Island, Texas, for the remainder of the South Padre Invitational, beginning with a matchup against UAB on Friday. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.


Game notes

[Text from news release received from Illinois State University]

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