Illinois State Falls Short At No. 5 Louisville, 69-66
Johnny Hill pushes the ball up the court against Louisville.
Johnny Hill pushes the ball up the court against Louisville.

Dec. 1, 2012

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Illinois State led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but No. 5 Louisville came from behind to edge the Redbirds, 69-66, Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center. ISU's Tyler Brown led all scorers with 25 points, while Jackie Carmichael added 20. The Redbirds fell to 5-2 and the Cardinals improved to 6-1.

ISU shot 52.1 percent from the field compared to 45.5 percent by Louisville, but the Cardinals out-rebounded the Redbirds, 33-30. Both teams collected 13 assists, while Illinois State committed 22 turnovers and Louisville was charged with 15. Russ Smith led the Cardinals with 24 points.

Illinois State jumped out to a 7-2 lead before the first media timeout, thanks to a 7-0 run, with a dunk by Carmichael, followed by a Bryant Allen jumper and a three by Brown. The Redbirds added onto their lead with seven more unanswered points, with a layup by Carmichael, followed by a Nick Ziesloft steal and a fast-break dunk by Brown. Carmichael netted another layup to increase ISU's lead to 14-2 with 12:54 left in the first half.

Smith broke the Redbird scoring-streak with a steal and a fast-break dunk. However, the Redbirds responded, as Brown netted his second three of the game to give Illinois State a 17-4 advantage. The Cardinals then went on a 6-2 run to pull closer at 19-10, with 10:29 remaining. Both teams proceeded to match each other, nearly basket-for-basket, until Louisville scored five-unanswered to cut ISU's lead to 31-25 at the 2:17 mark. With under a minute to play, Brown was fouled, and made both free throws to secure a 33-25 Illinois State halftime advantage.

Much like Illinois State's run to start the game, the Cardinals began the second half on a 10-2 streak to tie the game, 35-35, with 17:31 remaining. A layup by Chane Behanan gave Louisville its first lead since he scored the first basket of the game. But the Cardinals' 37-35 advantage was short-lived, as the Redbirds responded with a 6-2 run, on a tip-in by Brown and back-to-back layups by Johnny Hill.

The Redbirds later regained a five-point advantage with an ally-oop dunk from Anthony Cousin to Carmichael, followed by a Ziesloft three-pointer. However, the Cardinals, regained the lead, 58-57, with a Behanan jumper. Illinois State responded with a jump shot by John Wilkins, who was also fouled, but he did not make the free throw, and ISU's lead remained 61-60, with 4:25 to play. An ensuing three-pointer by Peyton Siva put Louisville ahead for good, as he gave the Cardinals a 63-61 advantage at the 4:16 mark.

Another layup by Behanan was answered by a Carmichael layup, and a layup by Siva was answered by an Allen three-pointer to trim Louisville's lead to 67-66 with 1:17 left. The Redbirds had a chance to go back in front after Behanan missed two free throws, but Carmichael missed a well-defended shot in the paint, and Jon Ekey was forced to foul Siva, who proceeded to make both shots. Brown attempted and missed a three with 18 seconds left, followed by another with less than one second remaining, allowing Louisville to hold on for the win.

Hill made his first-career start after freshman point guard Kaza Keane was sidelined with a sprained ankle suffered during practice Thursday. Hill netted eight points with six assists, two rebounds and one steal. Keane did not play Saturday.

With Illinois State's longest road-trip of the regular season complete, the Redbirds return to Normal, Ill., for three-straight home games against Wyoming Tuesday night (Dec. 4), Western Michigan next Saturday (Dec. 8) and Morgan State (Dec. 16). Tickets are available by calling (309) 438-8000.