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: ILLINOIS STATE VS. DRAKE
RedbirdHD.tv (Live Stream): http://www.goredbirds.com/allaccess/?media=412471
LAST MEETING: REDBIRDS EARN VALLEY ROAD WIN AT DRAKE, 77-63
DES MOINES, Iowa (Jan. 18, 2014) - Reggie Lynch matched career highs in points (14), rebounds (7) and blocks (4) to assist the Illinois State men's basketball team in a 77-63 Missouri Valley Conference win at Drake. The Redbirds (11-7, 4-2 MVC at the time) have won four of their last five games and 10 of their last 13. Daishon Knight led Illinois State offensively with 17 points plus seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Richard Carter scored a game-high 24 points for Drake (10-8, 1-5 MVC at the time). Nick Zeisloft matched a career-high for three-point field goals with a 4-for-5 effort from beyond the arc, as the Redbirds shot 48.1 percent and out-rebounded Drake, 38-23.
WINNING AT DRAKE
Illinois State put together one of its most-complete offensive and defensive efforts of the season in its Feb. 1 win at Drake. The Redbirds shot 48.1 percent from the field - ISU's third-highest mark of the season - while holding the Bulldogs to 34.8 percent from the field - ISU's fifth-best defensive effort. ISU also out-rebounded Drake, 38-23, while collecting more assists (14-10), blocks (5-0) and steals (10-8).
FORMER REDBIRD IN DES MOINES
Des Moines, Iowa is not only home to Drake University, but also to former Redbird Jackie Carmichael's current NBA Development League team, the Iowa Energy. Carmichael joined the Energy Jan. 2.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK
As part of Saturday's "Retro Game" against Drake, the Redbirds will wear throw-back uniforms designed to replicate ISU's home unis from the early 1970s, featuring the block "I-State" logo jersey with red and white candy-striped shorts. Redbird greats Doug Collins and Robert "Bubbles" Hawkins both wore this uniform when they played their home games at Horton Field House.
Illinois State is aiming to bounce back from its first three-game losing-streak of the season, when ISU hosts Drake Saturday afternoon. During ISU's last three contests, the Redbirds have shot a combined 56-for-166 (33.7 percent) from the field and 9-for-66 (13.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Despite ISU's shooting trouble, the Redbirds have executed other facets of the game effectively by outrebounding the opposition and forcing more steals in two-out-of-three-games.
BLOCKING OFF A SPOT IN THE RECORD BOOK
After blocking two shots in Illinois State's game at Bradley Wednesday night, freshman center Reggie Lynch increased his season total to 51 blocks, which is just one away from tying ISU's freshman blocks record of 52, set by Jon Ekey in 2010-11. Lynch is currently in fifth place on the single-season blocks list and is already No. 18 on the career-blocks list. The Edina, Minn., native currently leads the league and ranks 42nd nationally in blocks per game (2.4).
HUNTER AT HOME IN THE VALLEY
Illinois State redshirt junior guard Bobby Hunter has significantly increased his productivity in the Redbirds' nine Missouri Valley Conference games this season. Hunter leads ISU in Valley-play with 10.8 points (team-high) on 49.3 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists (team-high) and 1.6 steals (team-high) per game. During the non-conference season, Hunter averaged 9.5 points on 48.4 percent shooting, 2.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals.
ISU's zone defense has continued to effectively challenge the opposition since the Redbirds began utilizing it in their fifth game of the season. Illinois State currently ranks No. 2 in field goal percentage defense (42.5 percent) among Missouri Valley Conference teams. With ISU's four-guard lineup - including redshirt junior Bobby Hunter and freshman guard Paris Lee who both rank eighth in the league with 1.5 steals per game - the Redbirds lead the Valley in steals (7.3) per game. With freshman center and league-leading shot blocker Reggie Lynch in the middle of the zone, ISU ranks second in league-blocks (4.2).
CRASHING THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
Along with Illinois State's effective defense, the Redbirds have also proven to be an efficient offensive-rebounding team this season. ISU's rebounding offense ranks second among Missouri Valley Conference foes (36.5 per game), and the Redbirds' offensive rebounds averaged per game (10.6) ranks third. Additionally, ISU is second in defensive rebounds per game, at 25.9 percent. The Redbirds are 6-3 when they outrebound their opponent.
HOLDING TEAMS UNDER 70
Illinois State is 8-2 when holding the opposition to 69 points or less this season. The Redbirds are also 4-1 when scoring between 60-69 points. Illinois State has reached 70 points in just two of its last six wins; however, the Redbirds have held their opposition to 64 points or less during five of the last six victories. Based on these results, ISU has a good chance of winning when finishing games in the 60-point range.
FOR COMPARISON'S SAKE
Despite Illinois State featuring 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 more-experienced Redbird team was at this point in league-play. Last year's ISU team was 3-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference (12-9 overall), while the 2013-14 Redbirds are currently 4-5 and 11-10.
BRAVES WIN ROUND ONE OF I-74 RIVALRY
After Illinois State manufactured a 10-2 run to take a five-point second-half advantage, Bradley outscored the Redbirds, 21-3, to put the game out of reach, and the Braves topped ISU, 64-45, Wednesday night.
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