Stifling second-half defense leads ISU to
59-50 win over Loyola
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[January 13, 2014]
— A smothering defensive effort from Illinois State (9-7, 2-2 MVC)
in the second half held Loyola (6-10, 1-3 MVC) to just 23 points over
the final 20 minutes of action, as the Redbirds flew away with a 59-50
victory over the Ramblers on the 25th anniversary of the first game
played on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
With the win, the Redbirds extended their winning streak to six games
in a row at Redbird Arena, matching the longest home winning streak
since the 2011-12 campaign. The win also marked the eighth win in
the last 11 games overall for Illinois State.
Nick Zeisloft led a quartet of Redbirds in double figures with 12
points, all of which were scored in the first half on four made
shots from behind the arc. Reggie Lynch added 11 points, to go along
with five rebounds and three blocks, and Bobby Hunter and John Jones
each chipped in 10 points for the Redbirds in the victory.
Loyola jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the first four minutes of
play, as the Redbirds were held scoreless until the 15:31 mark. That
basket by Tony Wills kick-started a 7-0 run for the Redbirds, over
which the Ramblers were held scoreless for over six minutes. The run
was capped off on a 3-pointer by Zeisloft that gave ISU its first
lead of the game at 7-6.
Loyola took the lead back at 9-7 on a 3-pointer from Devon Turk
from the elbow and increased the lead to 11-7 on a jump hook in the
lane by Cody Johnson with just under nine minutes left in the half.
ISU fought back and knotted the game at 11-11 after a pair of layups
by Jones, before Loyola took the lead back again at 14-11 on a
3-pointer from Milton Doyle a minute later.
The Ramblers' lead grew to five points at 16-11, before a
three-point play from Lynch and a layup from Hunter tied the game at
16-16. A three-point play on a dunk and free throw by Nick Osborne
put Loyola up once again at 19-16, but Zeisloft tied the game for
the third time on his second 3-pointer of the game to make the score
19-19 with 3:18 remaining in the half.
[to top of second column]
The two teams traded baskets to make it 21-21, but Zeisloft
connected from 3-point range again to give the Redbirds a 24-23
lead with 1:30 left in the half. A pair of free throws by Jeff
White changed the lead for the fourth time in the game, as the
Ramblers took a 25-24 lead. However, Zeisloft kept his hot
shooting going and hit his fourth 3-pointer of the half to give
the Redbirds the lead at 27-25.
Doyle hit a jumper as the shot clock expired on Loyola's next
possession to tie the game for the sixth time in the half with three
seconds left. ISU called a timeout to draw up one last play before
the half, but Hunter's shot at the buzzer bounced off the backboard
as both teams headed to their respective locker rooms tied at 27-27.
The two teams came out of the break slow, as neither scored for
the first 2 1/2 minutes, before back-to-back layups from Lynch and
Paris Lee gave the Redbirds a 31-27 advantage. The ISU defense
suffocated Loyola and held the Ramblers to just two points in the
first 10 minutes of the second half, as the Redbirds' lead grew to
40-29 after Lee connected on a 3-pointer from the corner with 9:39
left in the game.
ISU's lead grew to as many as 14 points at 46-32, before five
straight points by Loyola cut the lead to single digits at 46-39
with just over five minutes left in the game. That would be as close
as the Ramblers would get, as the Redbirds maintained a double-digit
lead until the final seconds of the game to come away with the
Illinois State returns to action Wednesday, when the Redbirds
host the Evansville Purple Aces at 7:05 p.m.
news release received from
Illinois State University]