|ISU earns third-straight MVC win|
|Written by Tawni Ricketts, Sports Editor|
|Sunday, 27 January 2013 14:09|
The Illinois State men’s basketball team has countered its initial 0-3 start to Missouri Valley Conference play with a three-game win streak after defeating MVC foe Evansville (12-9, 5-4 MVC) in a 67-62 decision on Saturday at Redbird Arena.
“I’m very proud of our team. We’re continuing our defensive intensity, continuing our board coverage and because we’re playing so hard defensively, we’re getting wins,” ISU head coach Dan Muller said. “We had a lapse in the second half, which we have to get rid of, but other than that eight or nine minute lapse, we really guarded.”
The Redbirds (12-9, 3-6 MVC) were led by seniors Jackie Carmichael, who recorded his tenth double-double of the season after tallying 24 points and a and Tyler Brown, who accounted for 23 points, including a 12-for-17 effort from the free-throw line.
“Tyler Brown made some huge plays down the stretch [and] Jackie Carmichael was a beast all night,” Muller said. “They made big plays. We kept going to them. We went to them because they were playing so well [so] we were able to.”
The pair combined for 47 of the ’Birds 67 points on the night, and were the only ISU players to score in the double digits.
The ’Birds jumped out to an 8-4 advantage with Carmichael scoring the first six points, including one bucket in the first ten seconds of play.
Evansville responded with a 10-1 run to put the Aces ahead 14-9, but ISU countered with a 9-2 run of its own to take the lead again at 18-16 with the help of a trey from Kaza Keane and a jumper from Anthony Cousin with seven minutes to go in the first period.
Coming off of the bench for ISU, Nick Zeisloft netted a shot-beyond-the-arc to give the Redbirds the 21-19 advantage with just over four minutes left in the half. Ziesloft grabbed five points during the game and saw 11 minutes on the hardwood.
“We had some guys who didn’t play great, and guys stepped up off of the bench and played well,” Muller said. Nick hit a big shot in the first half, and hit a big runner in the second half. I told him yesterday that [he has] to stay ready because [he’s] playing well in practice and starting to guard again … Nick gives us another guy who can make shots. I’ve got confidence in Nick. He’s earning himself some minutes again because of his performance in practice.”
Brown followed up with six-straight points on a trey and a converted three-point play after he was fouled after making a reverse layup.
Carmichael tacked on a pair of three throws to the run to help the ’Birds to their largest lead of the game, 29-19, with 1:27 left in the first period.
Seconds before the halftime buzzer, Carmichael nabbed a bucket to send ISU into the locker room with the 31-22 lead.
After the break, the Redbirds sustained a nine-point lead, controlling the ball for the first four minutes of play, but Evansville drew up a comeback to take the 46-42 lead on a 16-3 run with just over 11 minutes left in the contest.
“We had to take our time, we got back in there, we kind of settled down a little bit … obviously we know we’ve had some trouble in the second half, but by this point we have it figured out and we took full advantage of it,” Carmichael said.
To help ISU out of the rut, Brown converted a three-point play again to level the game at 46-46.
After knotting the game at 48s shortly thereafter, a dunk from Carmichael would give ISU the permanent lead.
Buckets from Evansville would threaten ISU’s lead, but netted free throws from Brown and a layup from Carmichael extended the lead back out 64-55.
With just 43 seconds left on the clock, the Aces continued to score to pull within six, 66-60, but ISU held on for the 67-62 MVC victory.
The Redbirds will hit the road on Tuesday as they travel to Peoria to face central Illinois and MVC rival Bradley at 7:05 p.m. at Carver Arena.