|Redbirds open play with win|
|Written by Kevin Massoth, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Sunday, 06 November 2011 19:10|
For the fourth time in five years, the ISU men’s basketball team hosted Quincy for a preseason exhibition game on Sunday afternoon.
Five ISU players posted double-digit scoring efforts and all 12 Redbirds that clocked minutes scored to help ISU roll to a 102-63 win over its Division II opponent in front of a crowd of 3,139 at Redbird Arena.
“I leave here today very pleased with so many things,” ISU head coach Tim Jankovich said. “I thought for Nov. 6 we did an awful lot of good things, but in no way do I think we’re close to where we need to be.”
Sunday’s game was tied 21-21 midway through the first half, but the Redbirds reeled off 19-straight points to jump ahead, and they never looked back.
Sophomore forward Jon Ekey and junior guard John Wilkins led the way offensively for the Redbirds with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Jordan Threloff, Tyler Brown and Zeke Upshaw also scored in double digits for ISU, helping the Redbirds shoot 58.3 percent from the field in the game.
According to Jankovich, his team’s 22 assists were the most impressive number in the stat book, as distributing the ball evenly will be a key to this season.
“I think they know that the only way we can win is if everyone is sharing and we have good ball movement,” Jankovich said. “I do think that we pass the ball better this year, and potentially we can score more easily.”
On Sunday, the Redbirds moved the ball, quickly leading to many open three-point attempts. ISU finished 14-for-26 from three-point range, good for 53.8 percent.
Ekey was 4-for-7 from behind the arch, and Upshaw, Wilkins and Trey Blue each hit two three pointers for the Redbirds on Sunday.
“It seems to me we have a far easier time scoring the ball than we did last year,” Jankovich said. “I like our talent, I like our pieces and I like our people.”
Early in the second half, it was Wilkins who led the charge with a personal eight-point run to inflate the Redbird lead to 23 over the Hawks.
A tip-in by Threloff with 40 seconds remaining put ISU over the century mark and brought cheers from the Redbird Arena crowd to close out the contest.
To Brown, a transfer from Marshalltown Community College, Sunday’s game was about “getting my feet wet in my first game.”
“The transition, it was different but I feel like I’m used to it now,” Brown said. “All I needed was to get out there and get some jitters away.”
The Redbirds doubled up the Hawks in rebounds 46-23, including 13 boards on the offensive glass to help ISU to 14 second-chance points.
Chris Babbitt and Marshawn Norris led Quincy with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Redbirds hit the hardwood for their season opener on Nov. 11 when they travel to Fresno, Calif., to face Fresno State in a 9 p.m. contest.
Quincy head coach Marty Bell had an interesting take on Jankovich’s team after the Redbirds trounced the Hawks 102-63 in an exhibition game on Sunday afternoon.
“This is his best team in the four times I’ve played them,” Bell said. “They look like they’ve really bought in off of what I can see. They zing the ball around, they know where each other are and they trust each other. When you can get your kids to trust each other on the floor like that, then you’ve got a real chance.”