NORMAL, Ill. - Bobby Hunter and Nick Zeisloft set career-highs for points scored, with 19 and 15 respectively, as Illinois State (12-10, 5-5 MVC) topped Drake (12-10, 3-7 MVC), 75-57, Saturday afternoon on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. The victory capped a season-sweep for the Redbirds over the Bulldogs and improved the ISU’s record at home to 8-3 this year.
Illinois State shot 51-percent from the floor, including 12-of-23 shooting from beyond the three-point arc in the win. The Redbirds added 11 assists on 24 baskets, forced 14 turnovers and tied a season-high with eight blocks.
Hunter and Zeisloft paced four Redbirds in double-figures, with Reggie Lynch and Zach Lofton each adding 10 points.
Drake was limited to just 34-percent shooting, including 5-of-21 from three-point range. Trevor Berkeley led the Bulldogs with 13 points and Chris Caird added 10, while Jacob Enevold secured 11 rebounds. Richard Carter, who came into the game averaging over 17 points-per-game, finished with five points on just 1-of-6 shooting.
There were five lead changes in the opening five minutes of the first half. Drake opened the game on a 4-0 run, before Daishon Knight fed Jamaal Samuel for a layup to put Illinois State on the board and Zeisloft hit a three-pointer to put Illinois State on top, 5-4. Following a Drake basket, Hunter’s pull-up jumper for three extended the Illinois State advantage to two, 8-6. Both teams exchanged baskets, with Lynch and Hunter building the Illinois State lead to 12-9.
Aaron Hawley’s three out of a media time out tied the game at 12 with 14 minutes to go in the opening half, but Lynch banked a layup to put Illinois State back on top. The Redbirds would not trail again the rest of the way. On the ensuing possession, Lynch blocked Seth VanDeest, which set up a Hunter four-point play. Hunter was fouled while making a three and made the free-throw to give Illinois State an 18-12 advantage. The block from Lynch was the 53rd of his freshman season, giving the Edina, Minn., native sole-possession of first place in Illinois State history for most blocks by a freshman.
Following a Jordan Daniels three-point basket, Illinois State went on a 7-0 run, scoring on a pair of layups from Lynch and a three-pointer from Zeisloft to lead 32-21. Drake responded with an 8-2 run, scoring on baskets from Caird, Enevold and Berkeley, making it 34-29 Illinois State with 3:21 to go in the first half. Zeisloft added a three before the break to send Illinois State into halftime leading, 43-35.
Illinois State stormed out of the half on a 6-0 run, capped by a Zeisloft three-point basket. It built the ISU advantage to 49-35 and forced a Drake timeout. It took more than five minutes for Drake to get on the scoreboard, finally tallying a point on Berkeley’s free-throw at the 14:30 mark of the second half. Lofton drained a three-point basket on Illinois State’s next possession, stretching the Redbird advantage to 52-37. After a pair of Drake free-throws, Zeisloft made a three-pointer, giving him 15 points, a new career-best.
Drake tallied its first field goal of the second half at the 10:37 mark on a Berkeley lay-in. After Lofton made a pair of free-throws, Blake Danielak hit a three-point basket, making it 59-45 Illinois State at the midway point of the second half. The Redbirds then went on an 11-3 run, highlighted by Lee’s three-point basket, making it 70-48 Redbirds. On the scoring drive, Hunter made a three-point basket, giving the Reno, Nev., native a new career-high for points in a game.