|Redbirds snap losing streak with win over WMU|
|Written by Tawni Ricketts, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Sunday, 09 December 2012 17:14|
After a muffled season-low five-point performance in the Redbirds’ loss to Wyoming on Dec. 4, senior Jackie Carmichael bounced back with 24 points and seven rebounds en route to an 85-63 ISU victory over Western Michigan Dec. 8 at Redbird Arena.
While the Redbirds surrendered second-half leads in the three games leading up to Saturday night’s matchup, ISU rebounded by outscoring the Broncos 43-28 in the second-half of the game.
“Jackie had a great game, and there will be more games like this than the other night,” ISU head coach Dan Muller told WJBC radio. “Our players did a great job of executing … and Jackie did a great job of getting into position to score and finish. We had a good rhythm offensively; we shot it well [and] took care of the ball.”
The Redbirds remained scoreless on their first six possessions and going 0-for-5 shooting with one turnover, allowing Western Michigan to grab the early 8-0 lead.
“We got off to a slow start,” Muller said. “It was slow because of some nerves. Our guys wanted to play well so bad, we got a little bit tight I thought at the beginning, then once we got into a rhythm I thought we did a better job. Very happy for our players.”
John Wilkins, Tyler Brown and Johnny Hill topped the ’Birds offensive effort with 16 points, 13 points and 10 assists, respectively.
After remaining scoreless for roughly the first four minutes of the contest, Hill put the Redbirds on the board with a layup to initiate a 9-2 run shortly thereafter to pull within one point. Carmichael scored four-straight points while Jordan Threloff added a layup and Wilkins added a three-pointer to make the score 12-11 in favor of WMU with 12:24 left in the half.
ISU took its first lead of the game on a Carmichael jumper to put the ’Birds up 15-14. After the Broncos tied it up at 17-17, the Redbirds went on a 12-3 run which included eight-straight points and Tyler Brown’s shot-beyond-the-arc gave ISU the 29-20 lead with 5:37 left in the first period.
While WMU’s shots from the field were limited by the Redbird defense, the Broncos kept up by taking advantage of opportunities from the free throw line, making seven between the 7:24 and 2:00 marks.
ISU headed into halftime with the 42-35 advantage.
At the 13:00 mark, Zeisloft added another trey to push the ’Birds ahead by 14 at 59-45.
The Redbirds would maintain the lead for the duration of the game with baskets from Brown, Threloff, Carmichael and Geoffrey Allen, while Wilkins and Hill recorded assists.
“We talked about going into the game how we want to win the in-the-paint battle [and] the free throw battle,” Muller said.
“We’ve got talented players and we’ve got depth. Frenchie [Wilkins] has played two games in a row now, and he’s got a lot of talent. We try to use him as much as we can. He’s got some confidence built up right now. Really everyone who played tonight I thought contributed.”
The Redbirds will resume play on Dec. 16 when they host Morgan State. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:35 p.m.