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Redbirds end road woes at Drake

Daishon Knight tallied 17 points, and Reggie Lynch tied a career high with 14 points as ISU won their first road game since November, and beat Drake 77-63 Saturday night in Des Moines.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Reggie Lynch matched career highs in points (14), rebounds (7) and blocks (4) to assist the Illinois State men’s basketball team in a 77-63 Missouri Valley Conference win at Drake Saturday night. The Redbirds (11-7, 4-2 MVC) have won four of their last five games and 10 of their last 13.
 
Daishon Knight led Illinois State offensively with 17 points plus seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Richard Carter scored a game-high 24 points for Drake (10-8, 1-5 MVC). Nick Zeisloft matched a career-high for three-point field goals with a 4-for-5 effort from beyond the arc, as the Redbirds shot 48.1 percent and out-rebounded Drake, 38-23.
 
ISU started the game on a 13-3 run, forcing five turnovers and scoring eight points off of turnovers during the opening stretch. Zeisloft also netted a pair of three-pointers to help the Redbirds build their early 10-point lead. After Drake pulled within, 20-13, Illinois State responded by outscoring Drake, 10-0 – including a Bobby Hunter three-point play – to build a 30-13 lead at the 9:34 mark.
 
The Redbirds retained their double-digit lead for the remainder of the opening half, with Hunter netting a buzzer-beating layup to lift ISU to a 42-25 halftime advantage. Zeisloft led all first-half scorers with nine points on 3-for-3 three-point shooting as Illinois State shot 53.3 percent in the first half, including a blistering 63.6 percent from beyond the arc.
 
Drake opened the second half on a 7-2 run, with a three-pointer and layup by Richard Carter. An 8-0 Bulldog run – with all eight points on the free throw line without a miss – allowed Drake to pull within 51-43 with 12:48 remaining. But, after Drake narrowed Illinois State’s lead to 53-47, the Redbirds responded with a 9-2 run, including six points by Lynch, to build a 62-49 advantage at the 8:28 mark. Illinois State maintained its double-digit lead for the remainder of the game as ISU secured its 77-63 victory.
 
Illinois State returns to Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena to host current-No. 5 Wichita State – one of just three undefeated teams in the nation – this Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 7:05 p.m. When the official college basketball polls are released Monday, the Shockers will likely either remain No. 5 or move higher after remaining undefeated.
 
Wichita State will enter Normal, Ill., as the highest-ranked team to ever play in Redbird Arena, with Drake previously holding the top mark when visiting in 2008 with a No. 15 ranking. Illinois State has already beaten one Top-25 team at Redbird Arena this season with a win over No. 25 Dayton Dec. 7.

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