ISU Celebrates Redbird Arena's 25th Anniversary with Loyola Game
Reggie Lynch

Reggie Lynch

Jan. 10, 2014

 Illinois State vs. Loyola | Normal, Ill.
 Redbird Gameday Central
 Date  Saturday, January 11
 Location
 Normal, Ill.
 Tipoff
 7:05 p.m.
 Arena
 Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena
 Capacity
 10,000
 TV  CSN Chicago PLUS, FOX Sports Midwest, ESPN Full Court (See Listings)
 Radio  WJBC 1230 AM (Dick Luedke and Mike Matthews)
 Live Stats  GameTracker | StatBroadcast
 Game Notes  Illinois State Notes | Loyola Notes
 Buy Tickets  Illinois State Online Ticket Office



QUICK HITS ABOUT #REDBIRDHOOPS

  • Saturday's game against Loyola marks the 25th anniversary of Redbird Arena. On Jan. 11, 1989, the Illinois State men's basketball team officially opened Redbird Arena with a 71-70 victory over Chicago State.
  • ISU is 268-100 (.728) at Redbird Arena, with the Redbirds holding a 3-1 record against Loyola at Redbird Arena.
  • While this is the first-ever Missouri Valley Conference matchup between Loyola and Illinois State, the Redbirds lead the all-time series, 7-3, with ISU winning three-straight games and five of the last seven overall.
  • Former ISU head coach and current Loyola frontman Porter Moser (2003-07) is coaching against his former team for the first time. He is just the second former Redbird head coach during the Division I era to later face the Redbirds. Former ISU head coach Gene Smithson (1975-78) also faced the Redbirds as the head at Wichita State (1978-86).
  • Illinois State has won five-consecutive games on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena, the longest streak since 2012.
  • The Redbirds have won seven out of their last 10 games, with ISU holding a +4.3 scoring margin during the stretch.
  • Illinois State junior guard Daishon Knight - who leads the Redbirds with 13.6 points per game - has made a three in every game this season. He has also reached double-figure scoring in 11 out of 15 contests.
  • Redbird freshman center Reggie Lynch continues to lead the Missouri Valley Conference and rank 43rd nationally in blocks per game (2.3), recording three or more blocks eight times, with a career-high four Wednesday at Wichita State.
  • ISU junior guard Bobby Hunter ranks second in the MVC in three-point shooting at 51.5 percent.
  • Illinois State leads the MVC and ranks 50th in the nation in three-point field goals per game (7.9).
  • Redbird junior guard Daishon Knight is a three-time MVC Newcomer of the Week (Dec. 23, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9).
  • ISU sophomore guard Nick Zeisloft is a two-time MVC Male Student-Athlete of the Week (Dec. 4, Dec. 27).
  • Illinois State's fall 2013 team grade-point average (GPA) was the fifth-highest in the last 17 years.
  • Nick Zeisloft is one of 75 NCAA Division I nominees for the Allstate NABC Good Works Team, which recognizes basketball student-athletes who represent the sport's finest in the areas of leadership and charitable achievements.
    25 YEARS OF REDBIRD ARENA - 1989-2014
  • Click here and scroll to pages 6 and 7 for Redbird Arena facts and memorable moments.
    PROGRAM EXCELLENCE
  • Illinois State is in its 44th season as a NCAA Division I program, and during that time, the Redbirds have only had eight losing seasons.
  • Throughout Illinois State's program history, the Redbirds have featured 20 All-American selections, two Missouri Valley Conference Larry Bird Valley Players of the Year, Four Valley Tournament Most Outstanding Players, 66 All-Valley Selections, six NCAA Tournament appearances, 12 NIT appearances, three Valley regular-season championships and four Valley Tournament championships.

    ABOUT THE LOYOLA RAMBLERS
  • Loyola University is located in Chicago, Ill., and has an enrollment of 16,040. The Ramblers compete at the NCAA Division I level and are members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • The Ramblers return two starters from a team which finished 15-16 last season and tied for seventh in the Horizon League (5-11).
  • Illinois State leads the all-time series against Loyola, 7-3, with ISU winning the last three meetings and five out of the last seven. ISU is holds a 3-1 record against Loyola at Redbird Arena.
  • The Ramblers are picked to finish ninth the Missouri Valley Conference according to the preseason poll.

    WHERE TO WATCH: ILLINOIS STATE VS. LOYOLA
    Comcast SportsNet Chicago PLUS: Comcast: 101, 102, DirecTV: 666, AT&T U-Verse: 1742
    FOX Sports Midwest: Comcast: 57, 519, DirecTV: 671, Dish: 418, 5418, AT&T U-Verse: 1748
    MVC-TV: DirecTV: 671, Dish: 418, AT&T U-Verse: 748
    ESPN Full Court: Comcast: 837, DirecTV: 724
    ESPN3 (subject to blackouts): WatchESPN.com / http://es.pn/MBK-ULCvsILST

    HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

    With Illinois State's 66-48 win over Southern Illinois Jan. 5, the Redbirds have now won five-consecutive games on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena, marking ISU's longest home-court winning streak since earning six-straight home victories in 2011-12. In his second season, Redbird head coach Dan Muller is now 16-7 at Redbird Arena.

    MAKING A STATE-MENT
    Illinois State will try to remain perfect against in-state opponents when the Redbirds host Loyola Saturday evening. So far this season, ISU has gone 4-0 against teams from Illinois, with the Redbirds earning wins over Northwestern (Nov. 17), Chicago State (Dec. 4), DePaul (Dec. 22) and Southern Illinois (Jan. 5). Including Saturday's Loyola game, ISU has four more opportunities for victories against in-state rivals.

    FAMILIAR FACE
    For just the second time in Illinois State's NCAA Division I era, the Redbirds will face a former ISU head coach when Loyola skipper Porter Moser brings the Ramblers to Redbird Arena Saturday. Moser coached ISU from 2003-07, compiling a 56-71 (.441) record, and Saturday marks his first matchup against Illinois State since departing. The only other former ISU head coach who later faced the Redbirds was Gene Smithson, who coached at Illinois State from 1975-78, before facing ISU as Wichita State's head coach from 1978-86. Smithson and the Shockers played ISU 10 times during his tenure, with the Redbirds earning a 6-4 record against their former frontman.

    FOR COMPARISON'S SAKE
    Despite Illinois State featuring what is believed to be the least-experienced team in the nation, this year's Redbird squad (which features eight newcomers to NCAA Division I basketball on the current active roster) is just one game off the pace of last year's much more experienced Redbird team, which included four seniors and just two scholarship-newcomers. Last year's ISU team was 9-6 and 0-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference after its first 15 games, while the 2013-14 Redbirds are currently 8-7 and 1-2 in the Valley.

    RISING STARS
    The Redbirds feature some of the Missouri Valley Conference's top newcomers. Junior college transfer Bobby Hunter currently ranks No. 1 among league-newcomers with 1.7 steals per game, while freshman Paris Lee is second with 1.5 steals. Meanwhile, junior college transfer Daishon Knight ranks third among newcomers with 13.6 points per game, and fifth in rebounding, with 4.5 boards. Knight is a three-time Valley Newcomer of the Week, which ties Loyola's Milton Doyle for most by a single player this season.

    BOUNCING BACK
    Illinois State will try to bounce back after falling at No. 6 Wichita State, 66-47, Wednesday night. Despite holding the Shockers to their lowest offensive output so far during their 16-0 season, the Redbirds were also limited to their lowest output since also netting 47 points in a 55-47 loss at Fresno State Nov. 11, 2011. Fortunately, ISU has exemplified a short-term memory this season, bouncing back to go 5-2 overall following losses, and 2-1 at home following a defeat.

    BLOCKED BY LYNCH
    After leading the state of Minnesota in high school blocked shots during the last two years, freshman center Reggie Lynch has effectively transferred his shot-blocking skills to the NCAA Division I level. Lynch has consistently led the Missouri Valley Conference in blocks this season, currently ranking first in the league and 50th in the nation (2.3 per game). Throughout the first 15 games, Lynch has blocked at least one shot in 14 contests and three or more in eight games, with a career-high four blocks recorded at Wichita State Wednesday night. He has 35 total blocks as he pursues the freshman single-season blocks record of 52, set by Jon Ekey in 2010-11. Lynch has led ISU in blocks 13 times.

    DEFENSIVE DISCIPLINE
    Illinois State has prided itself on executing effective 2-3 zone defense this season. The Redbirds' defensive discipline was highlighted during the Jan. 5 win over Southern Illinois, as ISU held the Salukis to a season-low 48 points on 31.5 percent shooting. SIU's 17 second-half points not only marked the fewest allowed by the Redbirds in a half this season, but it was also just two shy of SIU's school-record low of 15 points in a half set against Kentucky Wesleyan in 1965. The last time ISU held a team below 50 points was when Southern Illinois scored 47 on Feb. 2, 2013, and the last time the Redbirds held a team to less than 20 points in a half was when Northern Iowa scored 17 on March 2, 2012.

    LEAGUE LEADERS
    Along with freshman guard Reggie Lynch's Valley-best 2.3 blocks per game, he is also leading the league in field goal percentage at 62.3 percent (43-for-69). Meanwhile, teammate Bobby Hunter ranks No. 1 in MVC three-point shooting with a 51.5 percent average (17-for-33). As a team, Illinois State ranks first in Valley three-pointers - and 50th in the nation - (7.9 per game) and second in league blocks (4.3).

    ON-THE-JOB EXPERIENCE
    Illinois State, which is believed to have less experience than any other NCAA Division I team, has made significant progress throughout the season. In the Redbirds' first five games (1-4), ISU averaged 68.4 points while shooting 38.3 percent and allowing opponents to shoot 45.7 percent. In contrast, the Redbirds have averaged 71.2 (+2.8) per game while shooting 41.0 percent (+2.7) and holding opponents to 41.1 percent (-4.6) through their last 10 games (7-3).

    EXPERIENCE PAYS OFF
    Illinois State's only two scholarship-returners - Kaza Keane and Nick Zeisloft - have both increased their offensive productivity this season compared to where they were after two conference games last year. Zeisloft is now averaging 6.4 points per game compared to a 5.3 average after 15 games last season, and Keane is averaging 3.5 compared to 3.4. Zeisloft, who now often plays the four position, has more-than doubled his rebounding average from 1.7 at this time last year to 4.1 currently.

    DIFFICULT TO DEFEND
    The Redbirds have proven to be a difficult team to defend as of late, thanks in part to ISU's four-guard, one forward starting lineup over the last 11 games. With guard Nick Zeisloft playing the four position, Illinois State's offense has thrived. The Redbirds have not only won seven-out-of-their-last-10 games with the smaller lineup, but they have earned a 4.3 scoring margin, plus a +1.7 turnover margin, contrasted with a -12.7 scoring margin and a -2.7 turnover margin during ISU's first four contests with a three-guard lineup.

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