Missouri State Holds Off Redbirds in Overtime
John Jones
John Jones

Jan. 2, 2014

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - After Illinois State led for nearly 39 minutes of Thursday's Missouri Valley Conference opener at Missouri State, the Bears (11-2, 1-0 MVC) came from behind to force overtime and ultimately beat the Redbirds (7-6, 0-1 MVC), 78-70, at JQH Arena.

ISU shot a season-best 58.1 percent in the first half but was held to 34.6 percent in the second. Meanwhile, Missouri State went 4-for-5 and outscored the Redbirds, 12-4, in the five-minute overtime period.

Daishon Knight led Illinois State with 15 points and seven rebounds, plus four assists and one block. Bobby Hunter (11), Paris Lee (10) and Tony Wills (10) also reached double-digit scoring. Missouri State's Jamar Gulley led the game with 22 points.

Illinois State jumped out to an early 13-7 lead, with five points from Knight during the opening stretch. After the Bears pulled within 15-14, the Redbirds manufactured a 6-2 run to take a 21-16 advantage. ISU extended its lead to 16 points - its largest of the game - at the 3:56 mark, and the Redbirds led 41-31 at halftime.

Missouri State outscored ISU, 9-3, over the opening three minutes of the second half to pull within 44-40. However, the Redbirds answered with an 8-0 run which included back-to-back Hunter three-pointers to push Illinois State ahead, 52-40 at the 13:56 mark.

The Bears narrowed the gap to 63-60 on a 6-2 run, with all six points by Gulley. Missouri State took its first lead of the game on a pair of free throws by Keith Pickens with 1:34 remaining. However, ISU's Reggie Lynch tied the game with a free throw to send it to overtime where the Bears took a permanent lead.

Illinois State now returns to Normal, Ill., where the Redbirds will open their home-Valley schedule this Sunday, Jan. 5 at 1:05 p.m. against Southern Illinois. Tickets can be purchased by calling or visiting the Redbird Arena ticket office, or by buying them on GoRedbirds.com.

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