ISU Pushes Win-Streak to Four, Defeats Bears, 76-72
Feb. 17, 2010
NORMAL, Ill. - Senior Dinma Odiakosa once again proved to be a force down low for Illinois State Wednesday night, helping the Redbirds beat Missouri State, 76-72, at Redbird Arena. Odiakosa finshed with a career-high 30 points, added seven rebounds, and dished out three assists on his way to his third 20-plus-point outing over the last six games.
Odiakosa, who scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half, finished 12-of-17 from the field. Illinois State (19-8, 10-6 MVC) also received double-digit scoring efforts from Osiris Eldridge (15) and Lloyd Phillips (10). The Redbirds finished the game shooting 53.8 percent (28-for-52) from the field.
Odiakosa set the tone early for the Redbirds with two quick layups, and Eldridge added a long jumper to give ISU a 6-2 lead. The teams exchanged the lead four times in the first 12 minutes, but Illinois State was able to gain a seven-point advantage with six minutes remaining courtesy of a baseline jumper by Eldridge. The Redbirds closed the first half with several miscues, resulting in five turnovers, which allowed MSU to go on a 16-4 run to take a 33-28 lead at the break.
ISU opened the second half looking more determined and confident. The Redbirds scored the first 15 points of the half; all coming from Odiakosa (9) and Phillips (6), before MSU's Jermaine Mallett sank two free-throws. The Bears fought back to bring ISU's lead down to four points with 13:52 remaining, but a balanced scoring attack from the `Birds proved too much for Missouri State. Within a 2:30 span, Illinois State went on a 10-3 run and ran the lead to as many as 12 points.
The Redbirds were leading by 10 points with 50 seconds remaining, when Missouri State went on a 6-0 run over a 19-second span and cut the lead down to four. With the scoreboard showing 74-70 and 11 seconds remaining, MSU's Nafis Ricks sent Phillips to the line where the senior point-guard was able to knock down two clutch free-throws to seal the win for the Redbirds.
Adam Leonard led the Bears with 20 points and Kyle Weems added 19 points and five rebounds. MSU ended the game shooting 48.3 percent (28-58) from the field.
The Redbirds continue their three-game home stand Saturday, Feb. 20, against non-conference foe Morehead State. Last season, Phillips helped Illinois State hand the Eagles a 76-70 loss. Saturday's tipoff is set for 4:05 p.m. at Redbird Arena.