NORMAL, Ill. - Junior forward Daishon Knight scored a career-high 26-points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 5-7 from beyond the three-point arc, to lead Illinois State (14-12, 7-7 MVC) over rival Bradley (11-16, 6-8 MVC), 70-54, Saturday evening on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
The victory marks the seventh-consecutive for the Redbirds over the Braves at home and improved ISU's record at home to 9-3 on the season.
Daishon Knight scored ISU's first seven points on a pair of jumpers, followed by a three pointer. Paris Lee then slashed through the lane to net a layup, Jamaal Samuel scored a two-handed dunk and Bobby Hunter tallied a layup to pull ahead 13-2 at the 13:50 mark. Bradley responded with an 18-5 run - including seven points from Walt Lemon, Jr., - to take a 20-18 advantage with 6:02 remaining. Lee stopped the streak on a jumper in the lane to tie the game, 20-20.
The two teams exchanged baskets until Lee drained a three-pointer, which regained a one-point ISU lead. Lee then netted two free throws to push the Redbird advantage to 29-26 at the 1:16 mark. Another free throw by Knight with 33 seconds remaining secured a 30-27 halftime lead for ISU. Knight and Hunter both scored 10 first-half points, while Samuel earned a career-high eight rebounds in the opening stanza.
Knight buried back-to-back three pointers as Illinois State outscored Bradley, 8-5, to start the second half. After Bradley pulled within three points at 38-35, the Redbirds answered with a 9-3 run to take a 44-35 advantage on a Hunter three-pointer with 14:03 remaining. A Zach Lofton three-pointer gave ISU a 10-point lead, as the Redbirds went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc to start the second half. Lynch's put-back bucket widened Illinois State's advantage to 51-39 at the 11:18 mark.
Bradley used a 7-3 run to cut its deficit back to single-digits, 55-47, on a Tyshon Pickett jumper with 6:27 to play. However, ISU quickly extended its advantage, as Lee, Knight and Hunter hit consecutive three-pointers to build a 64-48 lead. After the Braves cut it to 64-51, Lynch stuffed an Xzavier Taylor dunk-attempt to haut the streak. Illinois State went on to outscore Bradley down the stretch to secure the victory.