Fayne takes over, Redbirds advance to Missouri Valley Championship game

The Redbirds will take on Loyola in the Missouri Valley championship game after beating Southern Illinois 76-68 in overtime. (Photo courtesy GoRedbirds.com)

By ISU Sports Information

ST. LOUIS – Junior Phil Fayne scored 13 points during the overtime period to lead the Illinois State men’s basketball team to a 76-68 win over Southern Illinois and propelled the Redbirds to the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship game for the third time in the past four years.

How It Happened

Illinois State got big contributions from William Tinsley (11 points, 8 rebounds) and Matt Hein (9 points) in the first half to take a seven-point lead into the locker room at halftime at 36-29. Southern Illinois slowly chipped away at the ISU lead, eventually taking a 45-44 lead with 11:59 to play in the second half. The Saluki lead would grow to three at 47-44, before a three-pointer by Tinsley knotted the game at 47-47 soon after. ISU would then go on a 7-0 run, capped off on a dunk by Fayne, to regain the lead with 6:36 to play.

The Salukis would battle back and take the lead again at 56-55 with under two minutes to play, before Fayne tied the game up with a free throw at 56-56. Neither team would score the rest of the way, as the game headed to overtime. Fayne scored the first basket of the extra period to give ISU the two-point lead, but a three-pointer by Armon Fletcher for SIU gave the Salukis a 59-58 lead.  Fayne then sunk four-straight free throws to give ISU a 62-59 lead, before an SIU basket cut the deficit to one with 3:02 to play.

Five-straight points by Fayne out of the time out extended the Redbird lead to 67-61 and two free throws by Keyshawn Evans would make the lead 69-61 with just over a minute to play. Illinois State would hit free throws down the stretch, with Fayne icing the game at the line with two makes with 19 seconds remaining to send the Redbirds to the Arch Madness title game for the second-straight year. The Redbirds secured the overtime victory over Southern Illinois 76-68 in overtime.

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