Redbirds Fall to Vermont, 87-76
Daishon Knight
Daishon Knight

Nov. 27, 2013

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SAN FRANCISCO - Despite leading by as many as 18 points in the first half, Illinois State could not hold off Vermont's second-half rally, as the Redbirds (1-4) lost to the Catamounts (2-5), 87-76, Wednesday night at War Memorial Gymnasium.

ISU is now 0-1 in the University of San Francisco Golden Gate Challenge, with two more games against Sonoma State and host-USF scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Zach Lofton led four Redbirds in double figures with a career-high 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting, plus two steals. Meanwhile, Vermont's Sandro Carissimo netted a game-best 24 points, with 19 coming in the second half alone.

Illinois State shot a season-best 55.2 percent in the first half on its way to a 43-31 halftime lead. The Redbirds established a double-digit advantage with a 10-2 run capped off by a Nick Zeisloft three-pointer at the 9:30 mark. However, Vermont found its footing in the second half and began chipping away at the deficit. The Catamounts shot 65.5 percent in the second stanza, outscoring ISU, by 22 points.

Carissimo drained two three-pointers as part of a 15-5 run, and Vermont cut the lead to 56-55 midway through the second half. The Redbirds responded, as Daishon Knight - who finished with 12 points, four assists and three steals - made a pair of free throws to extend ISU's advantage to 62-57 with 8:37 remaining.

However, Vermont's Hector Harold drained a three-pointer at the 7:19 mark, tying the game at 63. Later, tied at 65, Vermont went on a 16-4 run to open a 79-67 lead with 2:58 left. Clancy Rugg scored 10 of his 21 points during the stretch, and the Redbirds never recovered. ISU finished the game with a season-best 50.0 percent effort from the field, despite the loss.

Illinois State will resume play in the USF Golden Gate Challenge Friday, Nov. 29 at 10:15 p.m. CT against Sonoma State.

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