Illinois State Hosts Western Michigan Saturday Night
Jon Ekey
Jon Ekey

Dec. 7, 2012

 Illinois State vs. Western Michigan | Normal, Ill.
 Date  Saturday, December 8
 Normal, Ill.
7:05 p.m. CDT
 Redbird Arena
 TV  Comcast SportsNet Chicago | ESPN Full Court | ESPN3
 (Kurt Pegler - Play-by-Play | Bob Morris - Analyst)
 Radio  WJBC FM 93.7 (Eric Stock - Play-by-Play | Mike Matthews - Analyst)
 Live Stats  GameTracker
 Game Notes  Illinois State Notes | Western Michigan Notes
 Gameday Central  Illinois State Gameday Central
 Buy Tickets  Illinois State Online Ticket Office
  • Illinois State's success this season has been based on 70 points. If the Redbirds reach 70, they win. If not, they lose. ISU is 5-0 when scoring 70 or more and 0-3 when scoring less.
  • The Redbirds are 5-0 when they force more turnovers than their opponent, and 0-3 when they commit more turnovers than their opponent this year.
  • ISU has led at halftime in seven out of eight games this season. The Redbirds only trailed at Drexel on Nov. 15.
  • Tyler Brown ranks second in the Missouri Valley Conference with 20.0 points averaged per game. He is also first in the league with 3.0 three-pointers averaged per contest.
  • Jackie Carmichael ranks first in the Valley with 2.1 blocked shots averaged per game.
  • Kaza Keane ranks second in the Valley with 5.6 assists averaged per game.
  • ISU started the season 5-0, before suffering two-consecutive losses to BCS programs, Northwestern and No. 5 Louisville, each by three points. ISU also lost by 14 to Wyoming, a team that had just defeated No. 19 Colorado.
  • The Redbirds are trying to avoid their first four-game losing streak since falling in six-consecutive games from Feb. 2, 2011 - Feb. 19, 2011.
  • First-year head coach Dan Muller became the 19th men's basketball coach in ISU history when he was hired May 8, 2012. Muller, a Percy Family Hall of Famer who helped the Redbirds to four-straight postseason appearances and a 91-37 record as a player from 1994-98, replaced Tim Jankovich, who resigned from ISU to accept a position at Southern Methodist.
  • Illinois State is in its 43rd season as a NCAA Division I program, and during that time, the Redbirds have only had eight losing seasons.
  • Illinois State earned a berth to a postseason tournament for the 18th time last season with a National Invitational Tournament bid, marking the 12th spot in the NIT field, including NIT berths in four of the last five seasons.


  • Western Michigan University is located in Kalamazoo, Mich., and has an enrollment of 25,045. The Broncos compete at the NCAA Division I level and are members of the Mid-American (West) Conference.
  • The Broncos return one starter from a team which finished 14-20 last season with an 11-5 Mid-American record. Western Michigan advanced to the conference semifinal before losing last season.
  • The last meeting between Illinois State and Western Michigan occurred as a BracketBusters matchup on Feb. 19, 2011, at University Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich., with Western Michigan winning, 68-65. Jon Ekey scored 10 points and grabbed three rebounds for the Redbirds.

    Illinois State will try to bounce back against Western Michigan after losing to Wyoming, 81-67, Tuesday night. The Redbirds let a 19-point lead become a 14-point deficit, representing a 33-point swing. ISU also let a double-digit advantage disintegrate at No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 1. The Redbirds led by 13 against the Cardinals, but ultimately lost, 69-66. ISU has led at halftime in all three of its losses this season.

    With ISU and Wyoming tied, 21-21, in the first half of Tuesday night's game, the Redbirds went on a 20-3 run to take a 41-24 lead with 3:49 remaining. During the scoring streak, ISU connected on seven-consecutive field goals without a miss, including six-straight three pointers. Tyler Brown netted three treys, Jon Ekey added two and Nick Zeisloft scored one during the run.

    Illinois State senior guard Tyler Brown ranks second in the Missouri Valley Conference with 20.0 points averaged per game, and he ranks first in the league with 3.0 three-pointers averaged per contest. Brown has scored double figures in seven out of eight games this season, with five 20-plus point performances. Over the last three games, he is averaging 27.7 points per contest. Brown scored a game-high 25 points in the loss at No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 1. He has been impressive in games vs. top-25 teams in his career, averaging 17.2 points in six total games.

    Illinois State continues to rank among some of the top teams in the nation statistically. According to the NCAA rankings released Monday, Dec. 3, the Redbirds were 17th in points per game (82.3), 22nd in scoring margin (+15.4), 10th in field goal percentage (50.7) and 16th in assists per game (17.6). Additionally, ISU guard Tyler Brown ranked 35th with 19.7 points per game, forward Jackie Carmichael ranked 32nd with a 59.0 percent field goal shooting percentage and point guard Kaza Keane ranked 32nd with 5.8 assists.

    At least three Redbirds have netted double-figures in six of ISU's eight games this season. Four reached double-figures in the opener versus UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 12), five scored double-figures at Drexel, (Nov. 15), three tallied double-figures against Delaware State, (Nov. 18), four reached double-figures versus Fairleigh Dickinson, (Nov. 20), three scored double-figures against UAB, (Nov. 23) and three netted double-figures against Wyoming (Dec. 4). The Redbirds are 5-1 when three or more players score in double-figures, and 0-2 when less than three net double-figures.

    In the spirit of the holiday season, Illinois State is spreading the scoring cheer with a 139-to-126 (1.1) assist to turnover ratio through the first eight games. ISU has teamed up for two 20-plus assists games this year, and freshman Kaza Keane amassed a Redbird season-high nine assists against Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 20, and again versus Northwestern on Nov. 24.

    Illinois State came within three points of beating FBS programs twice this season. The Redbirds lost, 72-69, in overtime to Northwestern on Nov. 24, followed by a 69-66 loss at No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 1. In both of ISU's losses, the Redbirds led at halftime (26-23 versus Northwestern and 33-25 versus Louisville). Illinois State also outshot both opponents (42.1 percent versus Northwestern's 33.9 percent, and 52.1 percent versus Louisville's 45.5 percent).

    After freshman starting point guard Kaza Keane sprained his right ankle in practice Nov. 29, he did not play during Illinois State's game at No. 5 Louisville. Fortunately for the Redbirds, Johnny Hill and Anthony Cousin teamed up to fill Kean's void. Hill, who made his first-career start in place of Keane, dished out a game-best and career-high six assists, scored eight points, grabbed two rebounds and collected one steal in 27 minutes of play. Cousin ran the point for 12 minutes with two assists and two rebounds. Keane returned to the starting lineup on Dec. 4 against Wyoming.

    Illinois State senior guard Tyler Brown and senior forward Jackie Carmichael are scoring points like it is their job this season. Brown and Carmichael have both netted 20 or more points in the same game on three occasions this season, including against No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 1 (Brown: 25 points, Carmichael: 20 points). They have also both netted double-figure efforts in two additional games, meaning that Brown and Carmichael have both tallied 10 or more points in the same five-out-of-eight games this season.

    While Illinois State's offense is averaging a blistering 80.4 points per game this season, the Redbird defense is simultaneously limiting the competition. Opponents are averaging 68.6 points per game, a +11.8 scoring margin. Illinois State has only allowed one opponent (Wyoming on Dec. 4) to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, and ISU has only been outshot by the opposition once (by Wyoming on Dec. 4) this season. The Redbirds have also forced 139 turnovers compared to 126 turnovers of their own, a +1.6 margin. In the win over UAB on Nov. 23, ISU forced the Blazers to commit 27 turnovers, which marked the first time that an opponent has been charged with 25 or more turnovers since Missouri-St. Louis had 34 on Nov. 7, 2007.

    Senior guard Tyler Brown and junior guard Bryant Allen each scored 30 or more points in back-to-back games at the South Padre Island Invitational in South Padre Island, Texas. Allen netted a career-high 30 points, on 9-for-15 shooting (60.0 percent), in Illinois State's win over UAB on Nov. 23. In doing so, he became the first Redbird since 2010 to score 30 points in a game. While it previously took two years between 30-point games, Brown accomplished the feat 24 hours after Allen, against Northwestern on Nov. 24. He netted a career-high 36 points on 12-for-20 shooting (60.0 percent), which was the fourth-highest scoring output in the nation this season, and the most points scored by a Redbird since Tarise Bryson tallied 41 against Central Michigan on Dec. 3, 2000.