|’Birds swoop past No. 16 Bluejays|
|Written by Tawni Ricketts, Sports Edito|
|Sunday, 10 February 2013 17:44|
The Illnois State Redbirds earned their first road victory over a nationally ranked team since 1985 on Saturday when they played past No. 16 Creighton in a 75-72 decision at CentryLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
Creighton now sits in a three-way tie for first in the conference.
“I couldn’t be happier and [more proud] of our guys, who competed the entire night and stuck with the game plan,” ISU men’s basketball coach Dan Muller told WJBC radio. “It was spectacular. They were well prepared by our staff. They executed what we were trying to do. To take what we do in practice and what we talk about so much and to go out and execute it very, very well … I’ll take it.”
“This is what elite teams do,” senior Bryant Allen said. “They all get tight at the end, and we just executed the plan and stuck together.You know, our defense won the game for us too.”
Tyler Brown led the ’Birds to victory, accumulating 27 points total, with 23 of them coming in the second half.
“A guy that can’t miss like [Brown], I will give him the ball every
possession,” Allen said. “The guy is unbelievable, you know he can make
plays. The guy is just really great. Once he’s in the zone you can just
see it in his eyes.”
Johnny Hill added 19 points, while Jackie Carmichael contributed 16,
bumping him into 10th place on the ISU career-scoring list — surpassing
The Redbirds shot 49.2 percent from the field, limiting the Bluejays
to 37.9 percent. ISU also committed just six turnovers compared to CU’s
“We really guarded. They didn’t get looks — it’s not like they
missed open shots and it’s not like they passed up open shots, they
weren’t even getting looks because we really did a good job [on
defense],” Muller said.
Carmichael scored six of the first eight points for ISU, but at 14:25 Creighton took the 10-6 lead.
Later in the first half, Creighton would take its largest lead of
the game, 31-25, but ISU responded with a 6-0 run to knot the game at 31
on a jumper from Carmichael with 4:05 left before halftime.
Heading into the locker room the ’Jays took the three-point advantage, 39-36.
To open the second half, ISU went on an 8-2 run to pull in front,
with all eight points spawning from Brown on a layup and two
The game stayed close throughout the second half, with ISU pulling ahead by no more than eight points.
With less than two minutes on the clock, back-to-back treys from
Creighton threatened the ISU lead, cutting its advantage to three
After the Bluejays hit two baskets from the free throw to bring the
game to 75-72 in favor of ISU, the ’Birds got called for a
double-dribble just before the final buzzer. One second was added back
on the clock, but Creighton’s long pass was bobbled as time ran out,
thus securing the MVC win for the Redbirds.
Illinois State will return home on Wednesday, seeking revenge on Bradley, which the ’Birds lost to earlier in the season. Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. at Redbird Arena.