After losing 75-63 at Bradley Wednesday, the Illinois State University men’s basketball team returns home with a rematch with Southern Illinois 2 p.m. Saturday.

In the two teams' previous game, Southern walked away with a home win 67-55 on Jan. 4. Here are five things you need to know heading into the Redbirds’ showdown at Redbird Arena with the Salukis:

ISU at BU_fisher and team celebrate

Despite leading at intermission, Illinios State falls to Bradley 75-63 Wednesday night at Carver Arena in Peoria. With the defeat, the Redbirds' losing streak is now at six games. Illinois State will try to get back on track when Dan Muller's team hosts Southern Illinois 2 p.m. Saturday at Redbird Arena.

The first time

In their first meeting this season the Salukis shut down the ’Birds 67-55 at Banterra Center. The Redbirds’ 55-point performance was the worst of the season at that point. That game was the first of three-out-of five games scoring 55 or fewer points. During that Jan. 4 showdown, the ‘Birds were shut down from three-point range shooting just 11.8% from beyond the arc. Three Redbirds finished in double-digit scoring. Jaycee Hillsman lead the way with 13 points, while DJ Horne and Zach Copeland added 11 and 10 respectively. Southern was led by Marcus Domask’s 16.

ISUvsMorehead men's basketball (5).JPG

Illinois State men's basketball defeats Morehead State, 61-50, Dec. 7 at Redbird Arena. Senior Zach Copeland led the ’Birds with 16 points. ISU plays next 1 p.m. Dec. 15 at Northern Kentucky.

Slump season

Currently, the Redbirds are in a deep slump losing six straight games in Missouri Valley Conference play. The ’Birds opened MVC play with a win over the University of Northern Iowa 76-70 at Redbird Arena. Since then the Panthers and ’Birds paths have gone the opposite direction. The Panthers currently sit tied for second with Bradley with a 5-2 Valley record. Since the upset, the ’Birds have yet to win a game and have been outscored 70-59.5.

The Redbirds’ current losing streak is the longest since the 2012-13 team. During that stretch, the ’Birds opened up Missouri Valley Conference play with six straight losses. Traveling to Southern they broke that slump with a 70-56 win.

ISU at BU_Horne jump shot

Despite leading at intermission, Illinios State falls to Bradley 75-63 Wednesday night at Carver Arena in Peoria. DJ Horne (No. 0) attempts a jump shot from the three-point line. With the defeat, the Redbirds' losing streak is now at six games. Illinois State will try to get back on track when Dan Muller's team hosts Southern Illinois 2 p.m. Saturday at Redbird Arena.

Distributing the wealth

This season the ’Birds have eight players lead the team in scoring. This leads the MVC. Copeland’s 32 points against Drake are the highest for the ’Birds this season. Hillsman’s 13 points against SIU still stands as the lowest game-high for the ’Birds. Copeland (eight games), DJ Horne (three), Dedric Boyd (two) and Keith Fisher III (two) all have led the ’Birds multiple times this season. Hillsman, Ricky Torres, Rey Idowu and Antonio Reeves have led one time each this season.

Brendan Mullins

New face

Head coach Bryan Mullins leads the Salukis at Redbird Arena for the first time since his March 20, 2019 hiring. A member of the Saluki Hall of Fame, Mullins is a natural fit to take over for Bill Hinson. During his four-year (2006-09) career the point guard set Saluki career records in assists (509) and steals (254). After his college career, Mullins played four seasons professionally in France.

After retiring in 2013 he joined Porter Mosier’s staff at Loyola as Director of Operations before being named assistant head coach in 2015. During Loyola’s 2018 NCAA Tournament run, Mullins was named associate head coach. After being named head coach Mullins brought ISU assistant coach and brother Brendan Mullins to his staff.

ISU at BU_ fisher and team huddle

Despite leading at intermission, Illinios State falls to Bradley 75-63 Wednesday night at Carver Arena in Peoria. With the defeat, the Redbirds' losing streak is now at six games. Illinois State will try to get back on track when Dan Muller's team hosts Southern Illinois 2 p.m. Saturday at Redbird Arena.

How to follow

The game, which begins 2 p.m. Jan. 25 at Redbird Arena will air on ESPN3 and stream on ESPN+. WZND will also have live radio coverage on 1230/93.7.

Vidette Sports Editors Jake Sermersheim and Jake Fogal will be live-tweeting the game from @Vidette_sports on Twitter. Live tweets can also be found on ISU basketball’s Twitter page, @Redbird_mbb, throughout the game.

Slump season

Currently, the Redbirds are in a deep slump losing six straight games in Missouri Valley Conference play. The ’Birds opened MVC play with a win over the University of Northern Iowa 76-70 at Redbird Arena. Since then the Panthers and ’Birds paths have gone the opposite direction. The Panthers currently sit tied for second with Bradley with a 5-2 Valley record. Since the upset, the ’Birds have yet to win a game and have been outscored 70-59.5.

The Redbirds’ current losing streak is the longest since the 2012-13 team. During that stretch, the ’Birds opened up Missouri Valley Conference play with six straight losses. Traveling to Southern they broke that slump with a 70-56 win.

JAKE SERMERSHEIM is a Sports Editor for The Vidette. He can be contacted at vidette_jrserme@ilstu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @JakeSermersheim


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