In a game where shooting percentages were below the Presidential eligibility level, Indiana State's Brenton Scott scored 14 points (11 in the second half) to lead Indiana State to a 65 to 57 win over Illinois State. In the final game of the Missouri Valley Conference's quarterfinals, the Sycamores outshot the Redbirds 35 percent to 31.
Indiana State (15-16) led 24-17 in a low scoring first half where neither team shot above 31 percent. The Sycamores built a 12 point lead in the second half, and a furious comeback bid by the Redbirds fell short. Niels Bunschoten was a surprise starter and provided some needed energy for the Sycamores who had lost six of their last seven games. The Netherlands native scored 11 points.
Illinois State (18-14) made nine of 33 three-point attempts (27%) and was led in scoring by sophomore MiKyle McIntosh with 17 points and senior DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, who scored 13. All of Akoon-Purcell's points came in the second half as did 14 of McIntosh's.
Indiana State Head Coach Greg Lansing changed their defensive plan for the Redbirds. They played what Redbird Head Coach Dan Muller called, a 'packed in' defense. Lansing has been waiting for his team to put together that kind of defensive effort.
"I knew we could defend like that because I see it in practice every day," said Lansing. "We have just lost some energy lately. We have to fly around defensively to be effective."
On playing the highly athletic Redbirds, Lansing said his team had matched their physicality.
A despondent Muller said they played their worst offensive game in the last three months, but gave a lot of the credit to the Indiana State defense.
"They outplayed us today," lamented Muller. "I am just sad I couldn't help these guys offensively tonight, but they packed it in hard tonight. Our turnovers killed us, and we had a lot of frustrated play."
Indiana State plays Evansville in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Valley Tournament. The two teams split their regular-season games, with each team winning at home.