Redbirds Hold Off Bradley, 54-53
Jon Ekey grabs a rebound.
Jon Ekey grabs a rebound.

Feb. 25, 2012

Box Score

PEORIA, Ill. - Jackie Carmichael recorded his 11th double-double of the season and led the Illinois State men's basketball team (18-12, 9-9 MVC) to a 54-53 victory over Bradley (7-24, 2-16 MVC) Saturday afternoon at Carver Arena in ISU's regular-season finale. Carmichael ended the game with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Jon Ekey added 10 points for the Redbirds and rejected two Bradley shots, while Tyler Brown and Bryant Allen each recorded nine points. Bradley's Walt Lemon Jr., led all scorers with 21 points. ISU shot 35 percent from the field, while BU was 31 percent. The Redbirds had a slight advantage over the Braves on the boards, 39-38.

Illinois State was scoreless for the first three minutes of the game, while Bradley connected for a quick five points, including an opening-possession trey from the top of the key. Carmichael answered for ISU, making two-straight shots for the Redbirds, cutting the Braves' lead to one, 5-4, with 15:30 left in the first. Illinois State struggled finding the bottom of the net, while Bradley used an 11-2 run to take a 10-point lead with 9:28 remaining in the half.

ISU regrouped and went on a 10-4 run, including two and-one plays by Ekey and Jordan Threloff, to cut Bradley's lead to four, 20-16, with under four minutes to go before the break. Brown found his rhythm from behind the arc, making three-straight treys in three-straight possessions, giving the Redbirds their first lead of the game, 25-23, in the final minute of the half. A foul on Brown gave Bradley a pair of free throws, which they hit in the final seconds. ISU and Bradley headed into the locker room tied, 25-25.

Brown led all scorers at the half with nine points, shooting 3-of-4 from the field. Carmichael added six points for the Redbirds and led all rebounders with eight boards. Illinois State shot 35 percent from the field, while Bradley connected on 28 percent of its shot attempts. ISU had the advantage on the boards, 22-18.

The two teams traded baskets for the first six minutes of the second half, but a three by Allen and an and-one play by Carmichael gave Illinois State a four-point advantage, 34-30 with 13:52 left in the game. Allen hit back-to-back shots, including a three-pointer, to give ISU a five-point lead, 39-34.

The Redbirds went on a 9-2 run with five points coming from Ekey, including a shot beyond the arc, to increase Illinois State's lead to eight, 48-40, with five minutes left in the game, but four-straight points from Bradley cut ISU's lead to four, 48-44, with 3:11 remaining. Carmichael sank four-straight points for the Redbirds to give ISU a five-point advantage, 52-47, on the scoreboard with two minutes to play.

A three-pointer by the Braves cut the Redbirds' lead to two points, 54-52, with under a minute to go. With three seconds left and down by two, Bradley's Lemon Jr., was fouled and went to the line to shoot two. He made the first, but missed the second, as the Redbirds held off the Braves in the final seconds to win, 54-53.

ISU will head to St. Louis to compete in the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament March 1-4. ISU will play Friday as the No. 4 seed against Northern Iowa at 2:30 p.m., at the Scottrade Center. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.