Allen became the first Redbird since Dinma Odiakosa to score 30
points in a game with his 30-point effort against the Blazers.
Odiakosa accomplished the feat Feb. 17, 2010, versus Missouri State.
Allen also recorded the first five-plus steal effort since Anthony
Cousin had five steals at Bradley on Feb. 26, 2011. Allen leads ISU
with 13 steals this season, with an average of 2.6 steals per game.
Tyler Brown and Jackie Carmichael joined Allen as Illinois State's
three double-figure scorers, with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Jon Ekey led ISU's rebounding effort with eight boards, while Kaza
Keane amassed a team-high four assists along with three steals.
For the fourth time this season, Illinois State's opponent scored
first. In fact, UAB began the game on an 11-2 run, with Brown
scoring the only ISU basket during that stretch, on a dunk. However,
the Redbirds answered with a 13-2 run, including a layup by Jordan
Threloff, to put Illinois State ahead for the first time, 20-18,
with 8:07 left in the first half.
The teams exchanged baskets, and the Blazers regained a 30-29
lead with 1:47 remaining, thanks to a Preston Purifoy layup. But ISU
carried momentum into halftime with a 5-0 run on an Ekey layup
followed by a three-point play converted by Keane. The Redbirds went
into the locker room leading 34-30.
[to top of second column]
Keane scored again to start the second half, in what proved
to be another back-and-forth period. A 3-pointer by UAB's Robert
Williams gave the Blazers a 40-38 advantage with 14:09 to play.
Illinois State again answered with a jumper by Brown to tie the
game, but UAB pulled ahead again, 43-40, on a Jordan Swing
3-pointer. However, Allen put the Redbirds ahead for good by
making two free throws, followed by back-to-back 3-pointers, to
increase ISU's lead to 48-45.
Both teams were held scoreless for more than three minutes, until
Rod Rucker netted a jumper with seven minutes remaining. UAB pulled
back to within three, 54-51, with 6:24 left, but that was as close
as the Blazers got. Illinois State finished with four unanswered
baskets to secure the 77-65 win.
Illinois State is off to its best start since the 2009-10 season,
when the Redbirds went 7-0 before suffering a defeat. First-year
head coach Dan Muller is now 5-0, which ranks as the second-best
start for a Redbird head coach in the NCAA Division I-era
(1970-present). Gene Smithson went 6-0 to start the 1975-76 season,
which is the best D-I coaching debut in Illinois State history.
Muller would match that record with a win Saturday night.
The Redbirds were to play for the South Padre Island Invitational
title Saturday at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network, against the winner
of the Northwestern versus TCU contest.
news release received from
Illinois State University]