Illinois State Plays at Drake Saturday on Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Zach Lofton
Zach Lofton

Jan. 17, 2014

 Illinois State at Drake | Des Moines, Iowa
 Date  Saturday, January 18
 Location
 Des Moines, Iowa
 Tipoff
 7:05 p.m. CT
 Arena
 Knapp Center
 Capacity
 7,152
 TV  Comcast SportsNet Chicago, ESPN Full Court (See Listings Below)
 Live Stream  ESPN3
 Radio  WJBC 1230 AM, FM 93.7 (Dick Luedke and Mike Matthews)
 Live Stats  Drake Live Stats
 Game Notes  Illinois State Notes | Drake Notes


QUICK HITS ABOUT #REDBIRDHOOPS

  • Illinois State has won nine out of its last 12 games, marking the first time that ISU has gone 9-3 over a 12-game stretch since the beginning of 2012-13. The Redbirds are aiming to extend their streak to 10-of-13, which would become ISU's best winning stretch since earning 11-of-14 wins from Nov. 17, 2011-Jan. 7, 2012.
  • In Missouri Valley Conference games only, the Redbirds rank No. 1 in steals and No. 2 in assists and blocks.
  • The Redbirds' field goal percentage defense ranks No. 2 among Valley teams in MVC games only (39.2 percent).
  • Illinois State leads the MVC in overall games and ranks 53rd in the nation in three-point field goals per game (7.8).
  • Redbird freshman center Reggie Lynch continues to lead the Missouri Valley Conference and rank 47th nationally in blocks per game (2.4), recording three or more blocks 10 times, with a career-high four at Wichita State (Jan. 8).
  • Illinois State junior forward John Jones ranks No. 2 in Valley-only field goal percentage (64.0 percent).
  • Redbird junior guard Daishon Knight is a three-time MVC Newcomer of the Week (Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 23).
  • ISU sophomore guard Nick Zeisloft is a three-time MVC Male Student-Athlete of the Week (Dec. 4,Dec. 27,Jan. 15).
  • Illinois State's fall 2013 team grade-point average (GPA) was the fifth-highest in the last 17 years.
  • With just 2.5 years of previous NCAA Division I basketball experience divided amongst returners Kaza Keane, Nick Zeisloft and Matt Stacho, Illinois State is believed to have less returning experience than any other Division I team.

    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, five Valley regular-season championships and four Valley Tournament championships.

    ABOUT THE DRAKE BULLDOGS

  • Drake University is located in Des Moines, Iowa, and has an enrollment of 5,348. The Bulldogs compete at the NCAA Division I level and are members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • The Bulldogs return two starters from a team which finished 15-17 last season and 7-11 (tied for seventh) in the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • Illinois State leads the all-time series against Drake, 49-29, with Illinois State winning the last meeting, 94-86, in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 6, 2013. The Redbirds and Bulldogs have split their regular-season series, 1-1, for the past four seasons.
  • The Bulldogs are picked to finish 10th in the Missouri Valley Conference according to the preseason poll. Senior Seth VanDeest was also named a Valley preseason team honorable mention.
  • Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti was an assistant at Illinois State from 1990-93 under then-head coach Bob Bender. At ISU, he helped the Redbirds to a 60-57 record and a pair of regular-season titles.

    WHERE TO WATCH: ISU AT DRAKE
    Comcast SportsNet Chicago: Comcast: 56/522/922, DirecTV: 665, Dish: 429, AT&T U-Verse: 741/1741
    ESPN Full Court: Comcast: 837, DirecTV: 724
    ESPN3: http://es.pn/MBK-ILSTvsDRKE

    LAST MEETING: REDBIRDS COME BACK TO BEAT DRAKE, 94-86
    DES MOINES, Iowa (Feb. 6, 2013) - Illinois State overcame a 17-point deficit to beat Missouri Valley Conference foe Drake, 94-86, at the Knapp Center. The Redbirds (14-10, 5-7 MVC at the time) did not lead until a three by Jon Ekey put ISU in front of Drake (11-12, 5-7 MVC at the time) for good with 1:44 to play. Tyler Brown netted a game-high 25 points with a career-best nine assists. Jackie Carmichael contributed 23 points, while John Wilkins scored a season-best 18 points. Richard Carter had 17 points to lead the Bulldogs.

    REDBIRDS ARE RED HOT
    With Illinois State's 79-78 win over Evansville Wednesday night, the Redbirds have now gone 9-3 over their last 12 games, after starting the season 1-4. Illinois State has not won nine of 12 games since the beginning of the 2012-13 season when ISU started 9-3. The Redbirds are aiming to extend their streak to 10-of-13 when they travel to Drake Saturday, which would become ISU's best winning stretch since earning 11-of-14 wins from Nov. 17, 2011-Jan. 7, 2012.

    BONUS BASKETBALL
    Illinois State and Evansville required overtime to settle an offensive-showdown Wednesday night on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. Despite the Purple Aces netting 15 three-pointers - more than any opponent in ISU history - the Redbirds answered with one of their top offensive efforts of the season, as ISU matched a season-high first-half shooting-percentage of 58.1 percent. The Redbirds also outrebounded Evansville (37-35) and recorded more blocks (6-2) and steals (8-3) while committing fewer turnovers (8-11). ISU is now 1-1 in overtime games this season.

    LOFTON REGISTERS CAREER-HIGH
    Redbird sophomore guard Zach Lofton scored a career-high 21 points in a career-best 39 minutes during Illinois State's win over Evansville Wednesday night. Lofton - who started the season by netting double-figures in the first seven games - seems to have bounced back offensively after being held to one double-digit effort in the four games prior to Evansville. Redshirt junior guard Bobby Hunter also enjoyed a productive game Wednesday night, scoring a career-best five field goals.

    KNIGHT BOUNCES BACK
    After being held scoreless for the first time in his Illinois State career during the Redbirds' win over Loyola (Jan. 11), junior guard Daishon Knight bounced back to net 16 points against Evansville Wednesday night - including a clutch three-pointer with eight seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Although Knight was held to two points in the first half, he managed 10 in the second half and four in overtime to lead the Redbirds past the Purple Aces. From the 3:33 mark of the second half through the 4:44 mark in overtime, Knight scored ten-straight Redbird points.

    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 47th in the nation (2.4 per game). Throughout the first 17 games, Lynch has blocked at least one shot in 16 contests and three or more in 10 games, with a career-high four blocks recorded at No. 6 Wichita State (Jan. 8). He has 41 total blocks as he pursues the freshman single-season blocks record of 52, set by Jon Ekey in 2010-11. The single-season record for blocks is 103, set by Jeff Wilkins in 1976-77. Lynch has led ISU in blocks in 15 games and he already ranks No. 22 on the career-blocks list.

    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 ahead of where last year's much more experienced Redbird team was at this point in last season's conference standings, despite last year's squad consisting of four seniors and just two scholarship-newcomers. Last year's ISU team was 9-8 and 0-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference after its first 17 games, while the 2013-14 Redbirds are currently 10-7 and 3-2 in the Valley.

    ZEISLOFT AGAIN NAMED SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
    Redshirts sophomore Nick Zeisloft was selected as the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week for the third time this season (Jan. 15). Zeisloft maintains a 3.71 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) in Finance and is a four-time AFNI Honor Roll Member.

    HOME COURT STREAK
    With ISU's overtime win over Evansville Wednesday, the Redbirds have now won seven-consecutive games on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena, marking ISU's longest home-court winning streak since winning seven-in-a-row at the end of the 2009-10 season. That streak extended to 12-consecutive wins in 2010-11. The Redbirds will try to extend their streak by hosting currently No. 5 Wichita State Wednesday, Jan. 22. At No. 5, the Shockers would be the highest-ranked team to ever play at Redbird Arena.

    MAKING A STATE-MENT
    After earning a win over Loyola Saturday, Illinois State improved to a perfect 5-0 against NCAA Division I teams in the state of Illinois this season. ISU's 5-0 in-state mark is the best among Illinois' 13 D-I teams, with Northern Illinois and Western Illinois maintaining the only other undefeated records of 1-0. The Redbirds have four more chances to earn in-state victories during the regular-season.

    LEAGUE LEADERS
    Along with freshman guard Reggie Lynch's Valley-best 2.4 blocks per game, he is also second in the league in field goal percentage at 59.8 percent (52-for-87). Meanwhile, teammate Bobby Hunter ranks No. 4 in MVC three-point shooting with a 43.6 percent average (17-for-39). As a team, Illinois State ranks first in Valley three-pointers - and 53rd in the nation - (7.8 per game) and second in league blocks (4.4).

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