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Men’s basketball loses first game to VCU, 95-58

Division I inexperience was on display for ISU’s men’s basketball team  in its 95-58 season-opening loss against No. 14 Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Friday inside the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va.

LOFTON

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Illinois State’s Zack Lofton led the Redbirds with 12 points on Friday

An intense VCU press and overall game tempo proved to be difficult for the Redbirds to adjust too early in the game, as the Rams jumped to an early 20-4 lead. ISU never got its offense or defense going in the first half and went into the locker room at halftime trailing 52-22.

The second half of the game was a little more positive for the Redbirds. However, the team trailed by 30 points at halftime, and lost by 37.

Head coach Dan Muller said to WJBC that it is hard to prepare his new team members for potential adversity throughout the season until they see it and live it themselves.

“We have to come [to practice] ready to get better,” Muller said. “We have to come and develop more competitiveness and a higher level of want too. That happens over time.”

Zach Lofton led the ’Birds with 12 points on 3-11 from the field and 5-6 from the line. Daishon Knight, Paris Lee and Jamaal Samuel each added nine points. John Jones and Nick Zeisloft led the team with seven rebounds each.

“[VCU] definitely got out of the gate way faster than we did,” Zeisloft said. “We’re going to take this as a learning experience, and get these next three practices straight, and then [we are] on to Drexel.”

Knight played 20 minutes and tallied nine points for the Redbirds after being fully reinstated to the team after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts for battery and resisting arrest Thursday, the Pantagraph reported.

“Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Woods said the basis for the charges involved a fight in downtown Bloomington where a police officer saw Knight punch a woman in the face for no apparent reason. Knight then ran from the scene as a Bloomington officer was trying to place him in handcuffs, said the prosecutor,” the Pantagraph stated.

Muller said, “Daishon has done everything  he has been asked to do within the program and on campus, and it is nice to have him back fully reinstated.”

Knight was ordered to complete 24 months conditional discharge and 100 hours of community service.

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