By ISU Sports Information
ST. LOUIS – Three Illinois State players scored in double figures, as the Redbirds (17-14, 10-8 MVC) held on in the second half to secure a 77-70 win over Indiana State (13-18, 8-10 MVC) in the quarterfinals of the 2018 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Friday night at the Scottrade Center
How It Happened
The teams battled back and forth over the first five-plus minutes of the contest, before the Redbirds extended the lead to seven points at 11-4 on a three-pointer by William Tinsley. The lead would later grow to nine with 10:49 to play in the first half after Milik Yarbrough made a layup to make it 17-8. The Sycamores would answer with an 11-3 run over the next four minutes to cut the Redbird lead to one at 20-19, before five-straight points by the ‘Birds made it 25-19. Indiana State would battle back again and eventually take the lead at 31-29 on a three-pointer by Jordan Barnes, before a trey by Isaac Gassman gave Illinois State the lead right back and the Redbirds led at the break 34-31.
Illinois State would push its lead back to seven points at 47-40 just over five minutes into the second half on a jumper by Yarbrough and later took its biggest lead of the game at 63-51 after a dunk by Phil Fayne with 7:24 to play. Once again, the Sycamores battled back to trim the Redbird lead to two points at 69-67, before a layup and a pair of free throws by Keyshawn Evans widened the lead to six at 73-67 with under a minute to play. Two free throws by Fayne with four seconds to play would ice the victory for the Redbirds.
Yarbrough’s 13 points over the last nine-plus minutes of the game, including six points in the final 2:36 of the game after the Sycamores cut the lead to 2, turned the tide in favor of the Redbirds and helped ISU secure its spot in the Arch Madness semifinals for the third time in four years.
Inside the Box Score
• Yarbrough recorded his fourth 20-plus point effort in his last five games, scoring 24 points in the win over the Sycamores.
• The 20-plus point effort was Yarbrough’s 13th of the season, and he also led the Redbirds in assists with 5.
• Evans finished with 17 points, making 3-of-6 from long range, and 6-of-8 free throw attempts to record his fifth-straight double-digit scoring effort.
• With his three three-point field goals (giving him 88 on the season), he moved into third place on the school single-season three-point makes list, passing Skipp Schaefbauer (1996-97).
• Fayne scored 16 points with a game-high 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season.
• Tinsley secured some crucial rebounds in the victory for Illinois State, finishing with eight to go along with five points for the Redbirds.
Stat of the Game
32: Points in the paint for the Redbirds gave them an eight-point advantage over the Sycamores in that category, which proved to be the difference in the 77-70 win.
No. 3 seed Illinois State takes on in-state rival and No. 2 seed Southern Illinois Saturday in the semifinals of Arch Madness at 5 p.m.