Halftime Report: Redbirds Dominant Early on, Lead Salukis 31-13
Jan. 5, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - A balanced scoring effort by the Illinois State men's basketball team propelled the Redbirds to a 31-13 halftime lead over in-state Missouri Valley Conference rival Southern Illinois on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena Saturday night. Illinois State shot 50 percent from the field in the half, compared to just an 18.2 field goal percentage by the Salukis. Southern Illinois' 13 first-half points marked the fewest first-half points by an ISU opponent at Redbird Arena since Missouri State managed just 18 points Dec. 29, 2002.
ISU was led in the half offensively by sophomore guard Osiris Elridge and sophomore forward Dinma Odiakosa, both of whom had six points on a combined 5-of-9 shooting from the field. Southern Illinois' Wesley Clemmons led the Salukis with five points.
Defense dominated the early minutes of the first half, as the tenacity of both team's defensive efforts allowed for just a 5-0 ISU lead four minutes into the game. A stifling defense by Illinois State held Southern Illinois at bay for over four minutes, as the Salukis did not get a shot off until the 15:48 mark of the period. Emmanuel Holloway's jumper from the right side, just before the first media timeout of the first half (15:36), gave ISU an early 7-0 lead.
Eldridge pushed the Redbirds' lead to double-digits (11-0) at the 13:48 mark with a three-pointer from the right baseline, and then Brandon Sampay continued to put the pressure on the Salukis with a quick layup that forced SIU into a timeout at the 13:13 mark. Five different Redbirds scored in the first eight minutes of the game, a feat that propelled ISU to an early 12-0 lead.
Southern Illinois' Randal Falker ended ISU's 12-0 run with the Salukis' first point of the game off a made free throw midway through the first half. The Salukis' offensive slump continued until the 3:58 mark of the first half when Wesley Clemmons connected on a short jumper just in front of the Southern Illinois basket to end a 0-16 shooting slump from the field to start the game. The Salukis then went on a 7-0 run that cut the Redbird lead to 28-12 with just 59.23 seconds left in the half.
Eldridge led Illinois State into the locker room with the 500th point of his career off a three-pointer from the left baseline that gave the Redbirds a 31-13 halftime lead.
The Redbirds dominated the game offensively in the first half, as they shot as high as 60 percent from the field until late in the half, a mark that would have been their best first-half field goal percentage if it had held up for the remainder of the period.
GoRedbirds.com will provide complete postgame coverage of the Illinois State-Southern Illinois men's basketball game, including a postgame recap, game notes, final statistics and video highlights, following the conclusion of Saturday night's game on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.