NORMAL, Ill. — After losing their four game losing streak in their last outing, the Illinois State Redbirds got some redemption on Sunday in their 72-68 win over the Missouri State Bears.
The Redbirds fell to the Drake Bulldogs in their last outing, bringing an end to their four game win streak. At home on Sunday, Illinois State was looking to start a new streak at the expense of Missouri State, who came into the day riding their own four game winning streak. Thanks to 23 points apiece from Phil Fayne and Milik Yarbrough, the Redbirds bounced back and held down their home court.
Missouri State gave the Redbirds a fight in the second half. After trailing by as many as 10 points in the second frame, the Bears managed to take a three-point lead of their own with under four minutes to play. Illinois State wouldn’t allow the Bears to pull ahead any further, and they retook the lead in the closing minutes to secure the 72-68 win on their home floor.
NORMAL, Ill. — Paris Lee made it clear on Sunday: He was not losing on Senior Night.
“I love our fans. They come out and support us and show us love,” said the Illinois State senior from Maywood, Illinois. “I can’t lose on Senior Night.”
The Redbirds, in a defensive struggle, finished the regular season a perfect 15-0 at home by defeating Southern Illinois, 50-46. Senior Tony Wills netted 16 points while sophomore Phil Fayne recorded his third career double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
“[We] had big plays down the stretch, again,” said Illinois State head coach Dan Muller, who captured his 100th career win in the process. “Our defensive numbers were great. It’s pretty cool to be a part of the first team to go undefeated in Redbird Arena history.”
EVANSVILLE, Ind. — From Missouri State to Wichita State, the Illinois State Redbirds have passed every test Missouri Valley Conference play has thrown at them.
But, there are no “gimmes” in “The Valley.”
Thanks to a dominant second-half from senior Deontae Hawkins, Illinois State, without MiKyle McIntosh, subdued Evansville, 69-59. The win flew the Redbirds to 10-0 in conference play, their best MVC start in school history.