Illinois State Falls to No. 22 Northern Iowa, 61-55
Osiris Eldridge finished with 14 points. (File Photo)
Osiris Eldridge finished with 14 points. (File Photo)

Feb. 27, 2010

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Senior Osiris Eldridge poured in a team-best 14 points, but Illinois State had its six-game winning streak snapped and suffered its 20th-straight loss against a nationally-ranked opponent, as the Redbirds dropped a 61-55 decision to No. 22-ranked Northern Iowa Saturday night at the McLeod Center.

With the loss, the Redbirds fell to 21-9 overall and 11-7 on the season, while Northern Iowa improved to 25-4 and 15-3, respectively. As a result, the Redbirds will be the No. 3 seed in the upcoming State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and will face No. 6-seeded Indiana State at 8:35 p.m., Friday night at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.

The Redbirds got to within one point, 40-39, in the second half, but were never able to take the lead. UNI stretched its advantage to eight points, 51-43, with 4:54 left, but ISU again cut the deficit to three points, 53-50, with 2:09 on the clock. UNI converted 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Illinois State opened the game with a 5-0 lead, but Northern Iowa outscored the Redbirds, 28-14, over the final 16 minutes of the first frame to hold a 28-19 lead at the break. UNI's Kerwin Dunham provided the difference offensively, hitting all three of his field goal attempts, all three-point tries, to lead the Panthers with nine first-half points.

Dinma Odiakosa joined Eldridge as the only Redbirds to score in double figures. Odiakosa finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Tony Lewis chipped in six points and 10 rebounds.

UNI had four players in double digits scoring and was led by Jordan Eglseder's 13 points. Adam Koch chipped in 12 points, while Kwadzo Ahelegbe and Dunham finished with 10 points apiece.

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