The victory was the first for the Redbirds over a nationally ranked
opponent since Feb. 9, when ISU defeated No. 16 Creighton 75-72, and
was the first win in Redbird Arena over a ranked opponent.
Knight led four Redbird players in double figures with 20 points,
just one point shy of his career high, and added six rebounds and
four assists in the victory for ISU. Bobby Hunter added 16 points,
Zach Lofton chipped in 13, and Reggie Lynch added 10 points and six
rebounds for the Redbirds.
Illinois State got off to a flying start, as the Redbirds took an
early 4-0 lead in the first 30 seconds of the game. Knight connected
on a jumper on the team's first possession after winning the opening
tipoff, and Hunter stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored on a
layup to put the 'Birds up early. Dayton would later trim the
Illinois State lead to 10-8, before a layup by Knight and a
3-pointer by Lofton extended the lead to seven points at 15-8.
Dayton fought back and cut the deficit back to two points at
16-14 after a jumper by Scoochie Smith with 11:24 left in the first
half. The Redbirds answered with a quick 5-0 run to make the score
21-14 a minute later. The Flyers once again came back and trimmed
the Redbird lead to three points, 21-18, before ISU answered with an
8-2 run, kicked off by a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Jamaal
Samuel that widened the lead to nine points, 29-20, with just over
six minutes left in the half.
The two teams kept firing and traded baskets over the next three
minutes, as the Redbirds maintained an eight-point lead at 37-29
after a 3-pointer from the corner by Paris Lee. A jumper by Knight a
minute later gave ISU its largest lead of the half at 39-29, before
Vee Sanford hit a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead back to
seven points at halftime, 39-32.
[to top of second column]
The second half started with each team trading baskets
through the first four minutes, with ISU leading 45-38 at the
first media timeout, at the 15:08 mark, after Lynch scored on a
layup. Dayton answered with a 6-0 run to cut the lead to one
point, 45-44, after a 3-pointer by Khari Price, but Kaza Keene
answered on the other end of the floor to widen the lead back to
Dayton's 3-point barrage continued as back-to-back treys from
Jordan Sibert and Sanford gave the Flyers their first lead of the
game at 50-48 with 12:43 left. ISU quickly answered with a jumper by
Lofton to tie the game for the first time, and a 3-pointer from Nick
Zeisloft gave the Redbirds the lead back at 53-50. ISU added three
more points to make it 56-50 before Devin Oliver converted on a
three-point play after being fouled by Lynch to cut the lead to
three points at 56-53.
Dayton came back to cut the lead to one point, 56-55, after a
layup by Smith, but Illinois State answered with an 13-2 run,
highlighted by a 3-pointer from Zeisloft, to grow the lead to 69-57
with 6:04 left in the game. ISU extended the lead out to its largest
of the game at 74-59 after Knight connected on a pair of free throws
with 3:55 left in the contest.
The Flyers used an 8-0 run to trim the lead to single digits and
eventually cut the lead to six points at 77-71 after a layup by Kyle
Davis, but the Redbirds broke the Flyers' press and Zeisloft scored
on a wide-open layup to extend the lead back to eight at 79-71.
Dayton attempted to trim the lead, but Illinois State held on for
the 81-75 win over the Flyers.
Illinois State will return to action Dec. 16 at Oakland for a 6
ISU-Dayton statistics (PDF)
news release received from
Illinois State University]