|Written by Todd Marver, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Wednesday, 02 November 2011 11:44|
After the Illinois State football team defeated Southern Illinois, 38–30, in Carbondale, Ill., Saturday in front of a Comcast SportsNet viewing audience to earn its fourth consecutive victory and keep its Football Championship Subdivision playoff hopes alive, the Redbird men’s basketball team hosted a Red/White Scrimmage Sunday evening in Redbird Arena.
White beat Red, 80-50, but players switched between the two teams.
Interestingly enough, five periods were played. The first four were eight minutes each, while the last one was four minutes long. This is the equivalent of one overtime high school basketball game.
It was nice to see two of the veteran big guys on the squad perform well in their first contest in front of the public this season at the arena.
The forward duo of sophomore Jon Ekey and junior Jackie Carmichael posted 22 and 19 points, respectively. Carmichael earned a double-double in the game, also registering 13 rebounds. They both certainly made a strong first impression this season and look to emerge as leaders on a squad with no seniors.
Another returner in double-digit scoring was junior guard John Wilkins with 12 points.
Two other Redbirds scored in double figures, both newcomers in freshman guard Johnny Hill and junior transfer guard Darious Clark with 10 points apiece.
A couple of other first-year Redbirds who performed well in the scrimmage, who I also expect to be in the regular rotation, include junior transfer guard Tyler Brown and freshman guard Nic Moore, who scored nine and eight points, respectively.
Overall, the newcomers did not score as many points as the returning players, but that is to be expected with first-game jitters.
From the scrimmage, I wanted to be able to see how many of the returners have improved since the end of last season and how they are able to adjust after the graduation of Austin Hill, who led ISU in scoring with 10.6 points per game in 2010–11.
Another objective was to get a feel for how the newcomers play, since obviously I have never seen any of them play in college before, other than the HoopFest scrimmage Oct. 14, and for some of the first-year ‘Birds, I have never seen them play before, period.
Still, I believe it is difficult to gauge or read too much into a team based on an intrasquad scrimmage. Much more can be learned about the Redbird men’s basketball team when it faces off against another squad for the first time in an exhibition contest against Quincy Sunday at 2:05 p.m. at Redbird Arena.
The Hawks feature freshman guard Austin Weber, the nephew of Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber. The first home regular-season game will take place Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7:05 p.m. against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
The Redbird women already have a game under their belts, defeating Missouri-St. Louis, 92–52, Tuesday night. The squad looks much different than the last time it took the court in the 2010-11 campaign in a WNIT semifinal loss to Southern California. Gone are all five starters and the lone senior on the team is guard Katie Broadway, who had some starting experience last season.
Going in, I just wanted to see how the ISU players would perform playing an extensive number of minutes because really not very many of them had a whole lot of time on the court last season, except for Broadway who averaged 29.3 minutes per game.
The five starters against the Tritons were: Broadway, junior guard Candace Sykes, junior guard Alexis Jenkins, freshman forward Maddie Oliver and sophomore forward Marley Hall.
The most outstanding individual performance in the exhibition contest against UMSL came from Sykes, who poured in 28 points including going 3-for-3 from three-point range. Her performance was impressive, to say the least.
The other double-digit scorer in the game was junior guard Jamie Russell, who came off the bench to score 15 points. I expect going into this season, that Russell will be a strong contributor, as she sat out last campaign after transferring from Wisconsin.
Freshmen Oliver and Katy Winge both played 20 minutes in the contest and it was interesting to see how they were able to adjust and compete well in their first game against another squad in college, which is a big transition from high school.
The Redbird women play their first home regular season game against Northern Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 4:05 p.m., while most ISU students will still be off-campus for the conclusion of Thanksgiving break. However, ISU returns to the Redbird Arena hardwood two days later on Monday, Nov. 28 to play Illinois-Chicago at 7:05 p.m.
I was excited to see these two squads each make their first public appearance in Redbird Arena, and for the basketball season to begin because I have been waiting since the last one ended for this season to begin.
With the ongoing NBA lockout, there is even more reason to check out the ISU basketball squads this season in order to fill that void. So come out to upcoming home games to cheer the Redbirds onto victory. Go 'Birds!