Illinois State Drops Missouri State, 68-60
Bryant Allen
Bryant Allen

Jan. 4, 2012

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Sophomore Bryant Allen poured in a career-best with 14 points, including 10 in the first half, to pace the Redbirds in a 68-60 victory over Missouri State, which was previously unbeaten in Missouri Valley Conference play, Wednesday night at JQH Arena.

With the victory, the Redbirds improved to 10-4 on the season and 2-1 in Valley play, while moving into a tie for first place in the league standings.  Missouri State fell to 9-6 and 2-1, respectively.  John Wilkins led the Redbirds with 15 points, while Tyler Brown added 14.  Jon Ekey added eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds and Jackie Carmichael finished with 10 boards and seven points. 

The Redbirds opened the second half on an 8-2 run, thanks to five points by Wilkins, to take its largest lead to that point, 38-27, with 17:53 left.  MSU's Kyle Weems, who was held scoreless in the first half, fired in 12-straight Missouri State points and the Redbirds held on to a 45-39 lead with 10:46 left.  Weems finished with a game-best 18 points.  Back-to-back threes by Ekey and Wilkins provided the Redbirds some cushion, 51-40, with 7:34 on the clock.

Down the stretch, every time Missouri State challenged the lead, the Redbirds countered.  ISU sank 11-of-12 free throws in the final 1:16 of the game to seal the victory.

Brown fired in five early points and the Redbirds held a 7-2 lead at the first media timeout.   Allen sank a three-pointer before the second media timeout of the first half to push the ISU lead to 14-6 with 11:03 left in the frame.  Following a traditional three-point play by Wilkins, Illinois State took a 17-8 lead at the 10:01 mark.

Missouri State closed the deficit to 17-14, but Allen buried a pair of treys in a span of 23 seconds to put ISU back up 23-14 with 6:02 left in the half.  The Bears countered with a  7-0 run, but Jordan Threloff got a putback to end the spurt and give the Redbirds a 26-21 edge.  Once again the Bears cut the lead to two points, 27-25, but Ekey sank a three-pointer following a missed dunk off a putback and the Redbirds led, 30-25, at the half.

Illinois State is back in action Saturday afternoon when the Redbirds host Evansville in another Valley matchup on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.  Tipoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

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