Friday, February 07, 2014
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Second-half surge sends Redbirds past Northern Iowa 76-65

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[February 07, 2014]  NORMAL Illinois State (13-10, 6-5 Missouri Valley Conference) used a 17-2 second-half run to surge past Northern Iowa (11-12, 5-6) 76-65 Wednesday evening on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena, as Illinois State improved to 9-3 at home this season.

Illinois State capitalized on Panther mistakes, picking up 30 points off 16 UNI turnovers. Four Redbirds scored in double figures, with Bobby Hunter and Daishon Knight pacing the Redbird offense at 17 and 15 points, respectively.

Matt Bohannan led the way for the Panthers, leading all scorers with 19, while Seth Tuttle added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Back-to-back 3-point baskets from Paris Lee and Hunter put the Redbirds up an early six points, but eight straight points from Tuttle would aid in a 16-2 run from the Panthers. A Jamaal Samuel layup silenced the run, making the score 16-10.

At the 10:05 mark, Bohannan picked up the Panthers' fourth 3-pointer, as Northern Iowa went 6 for 9 from behind the arc in the opening half. After Lee missed a 3-point shot with 6:32 to play in the half, the freshman guard grabbed his own rebound, dishing the ball out to Hunter for a basket from behind the arc. A pair of free throws from Tuttle put the Panthers up 26-22, but Zach Lofton answered with a 3-point make of his own.

At the four-minute mark, Northern Iowa notched five quick points, including its fifth 3-pointer of the game, but in the final seconds of the half, Samuel knocked in a bucket, shrinking the Panther lead and making the score 34-31. The New Orleans, La., native concluded the half with eight points on his way to finishing the game with a career-best 10 points.

In the opening minute of the second half, Hunter capitalized on a steal, converting a Panther turnover into a quick two points. UNI did not back down, as it answered the Redbirds with a Tuttle layup and a 3-pointer from Bohannan off an ISU turnover, extending its lead to 39-33.

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At 15:37, Knight picked up a pair of free throws, followed by a fast-break layup to tie the game at 39. Lofton added a jumper to give the Redbirds their first lead of the game since the 15:34 mark of the first half, but UNI answered right away with a quick layup from Jeremy Morgan. At 12:53 a Panther turnover sparked a Knight dunk, igniting the crowd and giving the Redbirds a 45-41 lead. Knight converted on another UNI turnover with a shot from behind the arc to give ISU a nine-point lead.

The Redbirds were 8 for 13 in the first 10 minutes (60 percent) of the second half, until a missed 3-point attempt from Nick Zeisloft, but the LaGrange native would not be rattled as he knocked down the very next shot from behind the arc.

With just under six minutes to play, Lofton converted a three-point play, giving the Redbirds a 58-52 lead, but Northern Iowa would not quit, as Bohannan hit a quick jumper to keep the Panthers within reach. A pair of free throws from Morgan at the four-minute mark closed the gap to 62-56, but it would not be enough for the Panthers. Hunter sealed the victory with the seventh Redbird 3, and a pair of free throws from Tony Wills would give ISU an 11-point lead. Reggie Lynch scored his seventh point in the final minutes, after making a free throw to convert an old-fashioned three-point play. Northern Iowa answered with a quick layup, but the Redbirds claimed the victory 76-65.

Illinois State is back in action Sunday, as the Redbirds travel to Loyola for a 3:05 p.m. tipoff. The game will be available on ESPN3.

[Text from news release received from Illinois State University]

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