NORMAL, Fig. – The Illinois State Redbirds had several standout performances against MVC preseason favorite Drake on Wednesday night; However, the team fell in overtime with an 89-88 final score.
The game was Illinois State’s fifth overtime contest this season, tying with the most in the country as the Redbirds are now 2-3 if they need overtime to finish a game.
Antonio Reeves scored a game-high 25 points for ISU, making 7 of 17 shots from the field and all nine of his free throw attempts. Josia Stark added 17 points including hitting 5 of 7 three-point shots. Kendall Lewis got his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds Liam McChesney – in his first college start – scored 14 points in rebounds. Guard Markus Freemann 10 assists handed out – the most by a Redbird player against a Division I opponent since Milik Yarbrough gave up 10 assists in his Redbird debut against Florida Gulf Coast on November 11, 2017.
The Redbirds return on Saturday, January 29 when the team travels to Cedar Falls, Iowa for a match against the UNI Panthers at the MacLeod Center at 1:00 p.m.
ISU opened the scoring before Drake lost 11 straight points to take a nine-point 11-2 lead. The visitors’ lead stretched to 10 at 14-4 before the Redbirds went 15 straight points to turn the 10-point deficit into a five-point lead, with 11:23 in the first half. The teams battled from there, and in the final 36 minutes of the game the largest lead either team had was five points, and the Redbirds went into the dressing room at halftime with a point, 38-37.
The lead in the second half changed hands a dozen times and drew 12 more times in the second 20 minutes. After leading the ISU 10-02 to play with three, Drake hit back with five straight points and the lead never exceeded two in the last 15 minutes of the game. ISU took over a point lead with 23 seconds to play after a Reeves running lay-in before Drake’s Roman Penn took 1 of 2 free throws with nine seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Overtime saw three ties and five lead changes, the last lead change coming at 1:24 on the clock with two Bulldog free throws as neither team could reach the scoring column in the last 83 seconds and Drake held on for a one-point 89-88 MVC win.
Illinois State made 46.2 percent of its shots for the game (30 of 65) and 8 of 19 (42.1%) of its long-range attempts. The Redbirds also converted 20 of 26 free throws (76.9%) while dishing out 16 assists against 13 turnovers. Drake was 33 of 69 from the field (47.8%) and shot 30.4% from beyond the arc (7 of 23) and 69.6% (16 of 23) on his free throws.
The Bulldogs fielded six players in double digits, led by DJ Wilkins and Tucker DeVries, who each scored 18 points. ShanQuan Hemphill had 15 points in his first game since Jan. 8, while Garrett Sturtz had 14, while Roman Penn and Tremell Murphy had 10 each.
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