Bryant Allen is among three ISU players who has scored at least 30 points in a game this season. (B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Bryan Bloodworth
NORMAL - Jackie Carmichael did more than just score a career-high 30 points in Illinois State’s 87-68 non-conference victory Sunday over Morgan State at Redbird Arena.
He became the third Redbird to hit the 30-point mark this season, making ISU the only school in the nation to have three different players accomplish the feat.
Bryant Allen hit the mark with 30 points in a 77-65 victory over Alabama-Birmingham at the South Padre Invitational in Texas. Tyler Brown followed the next night with 36 points in a 72-69 overtime loss to Northwestern.
“We have a lot of guys who can score in different areas,” said ISU coach Dan Muller. “We’re pushing the ball and we have a lot of possessions. Jackie had a terrific night. But I don’t think anybody else is going to jump up and get 30, so we’ll probably stop at three.
"Different guys can lead us. We have a team of depth and a lot of diversity in the ways we can score. And the guys are playing very unselfishly.”
That is backed up by the fact that the Redbirds lead the Missouri Valley Conference in assists with a 17.9 average. Freshman point guard Kaza Keane ranks second in the league with 5.2 per game, while Johnny Hill is eighth with 3.9 per outing.
“`We go into every game with an offensive mindset of sharing the ball and getting the best shots we can,” added Muller. “We have been very efficient other than turnovers. If somebody gets 30 points, that’s great. If somebody is hot, we are certainly going to try and get the ball to them.”
Along with their high number of assists, the Redbirds rank second in steals with 9.3 and lead the league in scoring with an 81.5 average. Carmichael ranks second in scoring at 17.6, while Brown is a step behind at 17.5. Carmichael also ranks fifth in rebounding with 7.3 per game.
ISU will certainly be tested Wednesday when it travels to Dayton for a non-conference game against the 8-2 Flyers. Pre-game coverage begins on WJBC, WJBC.com and the Country Financial Illinois State Redbird Radio Network at 5 p.m. Tip-off follows at 6.
The Flyers are led by fifth-year senior Kevin guard Kevin Dillard, who earned the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year honors before transferring to Dayton. He averages 15.1 points and 4.2 assists and has already earned Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week honors.
“Kevin Dillard is the main guy,” said Muller. “He leads them in scoring certainly, but he also dominates the ball. He’s unbelievably talented. Now, you can’t only key on him because they do have balance. They are a difficult team to play. They push it hard on makes and misses. It should be a fast game
“Dayton has a great attack. They are hard to zone. They have experience, so they know how to attack. They penetrate it. They have enough shooters on the court that they can stretch you and they are so big they can finish at the rim.”
The Flyers have good offensive balance with three other players averaging between 10.9 and 12.1 points. Devin Oliver is the top rebounder with an 8.7 average.
Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at email@example.com