Redbirds Rally Late But Come Up Short, 79-70, to Manhattan
Nick Zeisloft

Nick Zeisloft

Nov. 20, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - Despite a late-game surge that saw a 16 point deficit cut to four points, Illinois State fell to Manhattan 79-70 Wednesday night at Redbird Arena. With the loss, the Redbirds drop to 1-3 while Manhattan improves to 3-1.

Trailing 61-45 with 9:28 left in the game, the Redbirds put together an 11-0 run highlighted by three-point contributions by Nick Zeisloft and Paris Lee. A pair of Jasper free-throws by Rashawn Stores would stop the Illinois State run, but Lee responded with a three-pointer to cut the Manhattan lead to four at the 5:12 mark. That is as close as Illinois State would get in the loss.

Four Redbirds tallied double-figure scoring nights led by Daishon Knight with a career-high 21 points. Michael Middlebrooks led the team with 10 rebounds, while Lee tallied his second-consecutive four-assist game. Illinois State shot 38 percent from the field.

George Beamon topped all scorers with 24 points and led four Manhattan players who registered double-figures. Rhamel Brown was the game's leading rebounder with 13 boards while Beamon and Stores added three steals a piece. The Jaspers shot 36 percent from the field and capitalized on 24 second-chance points.

The Redbirds tallied seven turnovers in the opening minutes of the game, allowing the Jaspers to jump out to an early 8-0 advantage. Illinois State missed its first three shots. Manhattan capitalized with six points off Redbird turnovers. Lee was sidelined after committing two personal fouls within the first 1:04 of action. Reggie Lynch snapped the ISU drought with a jumper 4:11 into the game and scored the first seven points of the night for ISU. The Redbirds were dominant down low early on, scoring eight of their first nine points in the paint.

The teams traded baskets giving the Jaspers a 17-14 lead with 9:54 left to play in the half. The Redbirds would tie the game at 17-17 with three free-throws from Knight. Illinois State went on a 7-2 run after a Knight three-pointer to give them a 22-19 lead at the 7:28 timeout.

Five turnovers between the teams caused a scoring drought until a pair of free-throws by Rhamel Brown gave Manhattan the lead back at 23-22 with 5:24 left in the half. The teams would tie for the fifth time after a Brown free-throw at the 4:37 mark. A Beamon layup would be the start of a Jaspers 5-0 run followed by a Donovan Kates three-pointer. A Tony Wills jumper put a stop to the Manhattan run cutting their lead to 29-26 with 3:18 to play in the first half.

Manhattan took a 36-30 lead into halftime. The Redbirds shot 38 percent from the field in the opening frame while the Jaspers shot 35 percent; however, Manhattan held a 22-17 rebounding edge. Twenty-three of Illinois State's first half points came off the bench and Knight led all first-half scorers with 12.

The Jaspers came out firing early in the second half putting together a 5-0 run while extending their lead to 41-30 before a basket by Lynch at the 18:48 mark put the Redbirds on the board. Manhattan went on to reach a game-high 16-point lead after a pair of free-throws from Brown that extended the score to 61-45 with 9:28 left in the game.

 The Redbirds return to action next Wednesday, Nov. 27, when they face Vermont in the first game of the USF Golden Gate Challenge tournament in San Francisco. Tip-off is slated for 10:15 p.m. (CST). 

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