Friday, December 06, 2013
Sports News

Second-half surge leads Redbirds to 75-56 victory over the Cougars

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[December 06, 2013]  NORMAL — Illinois State shot just 34.5 percent from the field in the first half against Chicago State, but a second-half scoring barrage propelled the Redbirds (4-4) to a 75-56 victory over the Cougars (3-5) Wednesday night on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.

Reggie Lynch scored a career-high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and added five rebounds for the Redbirds. Daishon Knight led ISU with 15 points, all scored in the second half, and grabbed seven rebounds, one short of his career high. Bobby Hunter rounded out the trio of Redbirds in double figures with 12 points in a balanced scoring effort that also saw Nick Zeisloft add eight points to go along with a career-best seven rebounds.

Both teams struggled from the field through the first eight minutes of play, shooting a combined 7 for 24. Chicago State maintained a 10-7 lead over Illinois State as all seven of ISU's points were scored by Lynch, with the first field goal scored at the 14:39 mark. The Redbirds would then go on to take their first lead of the game at 14-11, after Zach Lofton connected from 3-point range five minutes later.

ISU later extended its lead out to 21-17 after a 3-pointer by Hunter. Then the Cougars went on a 6-0 run to take back the lead at 24-21 with just under four minutes remaining in the half. Zeisloft put an end to the run with a 3-pointer of his own to tie the game at 24-24, before a layup by Jared Dimakos gave Chicago State the lead right back at 26-24.

The Cougars held on the rest of the half and took a 30-28 lead into the locker room at halftime. The two teams combined to shoot just 19 for 56 from the field (33.9 percent) and 5 for 26 from 3-point range (19.2 percent) through the first 20 minutes of play.

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Both teams came out of halftime shooting well, as the Redbirds connected on 5 of 6 shots and tied the game at 36-36 after Lynch made his second reverse layup of the night. Chicago State got the lead back quickly at 39-36 after a 3-pointer by Nate Duhon, but the Redbirds answered with a 10-0 run kick-started on a jumper by Knight and a layup by Lynch to regain the lead and widen it to 46-39 with 12:23 left on the clock. The lead would eventually grow to nine points at 53-44, after a jumper by Tony Wills two minutes later.

A pair of free throws from Lofton at the 6:35 mark gave the Redbirds their first double-digit lead of the game at 57-46, and a 3-pointer from Hunter later made the ISU advantage 14 points at 60-46. The ISU offense continued to cruise and widened the lead to as many as 20 points late in the game after a 3-pointer by Zeisloft on the way to a 75-56 victory.

The Redbirds will return to action Saturday, when they host No. 25-ranked Dayton at Redbird Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, with Kurt Pegler and Bob Morris on the call.

[Text from news release received from Illinois State University]

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