Jackie Carmichael had a career-high 27 points in an Illinois State win on Monday. (Photo By B Corbin/WJBC)
By WJBC Staff
NORMAL – The Dan Muller era of Illinois State basketball got off to a great start Monday as the Redbirds earned a 100-72 non-conference victory over California-Santa Barbara at Redbird Arena.
The 100-point effort was the first for the Redbirds since Nov. 22, 2008, when they scored 107 points against Houston Baptist.
Senior forward Jackie Carmichael led all players with a career-high 27 points. He also added 10 rebounds to record his 22nd double-double performance of his career. Tyler Brown marked his ninth game with 20-plus points with 22. John Ekey and Bryant Allen finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively, to round out the four players in double figures for the Redbirds.
The Gauchos (0-2) scored the first points on a layup by Nate Garth and held the Redbirds scoreless on their first three possessions until Ekey hit a jumper with 17 minutes left in the first half. Ekey added a pair of free throws on the following play to put ISU on top, 4-2. Illinois State extended its lead with three straight buckets from Brown, Nick Zeisolft and Carmichael for a 15-6 advantage.
The Redbirds then went on a 21-0 run in less than six minutes and the rout was on. Brown scored 12 points in the offensive spree.
After being held scoreless by a solid Redbird defense for over seven minutes, Lewis Thomas hit a 3-pointer with under eight minutes to play in the first half. Illinois State answered with three straight 3-pointers from Zeisloft, Allen and Ekey to extend the lead to 42-15.
Back-to-back buckets from Carmichael sent the Redbirds into the locker room wth a 49-29 advantage. Carmichael had 17 points and five rebounds in the first half. Illinois State held the Gauchos to 42 shooting percentage and forcedseven Gauchos' turnovers.
After the break, the Redbirds scored the first two baskets on a jumper from Carmichael and a lay-up by freshman Kaza Keane and went on to extend its lead to 59-33. Santa Barbara then went on a 17-5 run to cut its deficit to 72-53.
Brown sank his fourth 3-pointer that was followed by baskets from Carmichael and Allen to get ISU back on track, 81-58. Geoffrey Allen recorded his first points in a Redbird uniform and Zeisloft notched his second 3-point basket for a 92-65 Redbird advantage with under three minutes to play. ISU finished the game on an 8-2 run to cap the victory.
Illinois State returns to action Thursday when it travels to Philadelphia to take on Drexel in a non-conference matchup. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
Redbird Preview starts at 5 p.m. on the WJBC/Country Financial Illinois State Radio Network.