Jankovich records 100th win as Redbirds come back to beat Oakland 79 to 75
NORMAL, IL. – An attendance of 4,601 people watched Redbirds head coach Tim Jankovich record victory number 100 tonight in a 79-75 win against Oakland University. With this win, Jankovich became the fifth coach in ISU history to win 100 games with the Redbird
Oakland star point guard Reggie Hamilton came into the game as the nation’s leading scorer, averaging nearly 25 a game. Hamilton started off hot as he scored 10 of the team’s first 14 points while shooting 50%. Oakland guard Travis Bader also had a big first half with 16 points, shooting 5-of-6 from behind the arc. Despite many alley-oops and tip-slams by Redbird forward Jon Ekey, the Redbirds never seemed to be able to even up the score as Hamilton and Bader would silence the crowd after any sense that the momentum was in ISU’s favor.
Ekey kept the Redbirds in reach in the first half with dunks and by knocking down a big three-pointer with 4:18 left on the clock. In 15 minutes of playing time, Ekey led all Redbirds in points in the first half with 12 and recorded seven rebounds.
At halftime, the Redbirds were trailing the Grizzlies 43-34. ISU forward John Wilkins started off the half with two three-pointers cutting the lead to three, but Hamilton always answered the call, sinking two buckets back to back to once again to quiet the Redbirds. With 13:33 left in the game, Carmichael got the crowd on their feet with a block on Bader, who went 0-6 from three in the second half. After the block, guard Anthony Cousin fed Ekey with another alley-oop to get the Redbird deficit down to one point. The Redbirds did not take the lead away from Oakland until Bryant Allen’s step-back jumper with 10:27 left in the game.
The game would go back and forth from there with Carmichael leading the ‘Birds and Hamilton leading the Grizzlies. Momentum was even for either team until the Redbirds took the lead again with Ekey’s three-pointer. The shot was able to happen thanks to an extremely hard fought battle by Allen to steal the ball away from the Grizzlies. With 57 seconds left, Wilkins was called for goaltending, giving Oakland two points, tying up the game. On the other side, ISU forward Tyler Brown completely missed a shot attempt, but once again Allen hustled to the ball and threw it off an Oakland player keeping the possession arrow in the Redbird’s advantage.
Carmichael put in a lay-up with 17 seconds left in the game to allow the Redbirds to go up two. Hamilton, who played all 40 minutes in the game, tried to take the lead with a three-point attempt but missed. Hamilton finished the game with 34 points, while attempting 23 shots. Carmichael grabbed the rebound, bringing his total to 19 for the game. Oakland fouled Carmichael, who then sank two free-throws giving the Redbirds a four point lead with only two seconds left. Carmichael finished with his 10th double-double of the season, accumulating 25 points and 19 rebounds. Ekey tied a season high with 19 points, marking his first double digit scoring effort over the past five games.
With the victory, Illinois State improves to 14-4 overall in SEARS BracketBuster games. The Redbirds also extended their home winning streak to six. The Redbirds are in action Wednesday night at home as they take on the 23rd ranked Wichita State Shockers. The Redbirds have not beaten a nationally ranked opponent since 1983.