St. Louis – The Illinois State Redbirds kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a wire-to-wire win over Southern Illinois in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, knocking off the #4 seeded Salukis 63-50.
The Redbirds (27-5) extended their school-record win total behind a great first half that saw ISU hit 9-of-15 from behind the arc. MVC Player of the Year Paris Lee led the charge early, hitting 4-of-6 and finishing with 12 points and 5 assists while playing just 17 minutes. Illinois State held the Salukis (17-16) to just 32% shooting, including 5-of-19 from three, while racing out to a 43-20 halftime lead.
Kyle McIntosh broke out of a shooting slump, finishing with a game-high 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting including 3-of-6 from outside. The Salukis were paced by a dozen from Sean Lloyd who hit 3-of-6 from behind the arc himself.
Other interesting notes…
- Redbirds hit 13 threes, two shy of the tournament record set by Drake in 2007
- Only 18 personal fouls were called all game
- Illinois State did not shoot a free throw
- Salukies finished 7-of-9 from the stripe, all in the second half
- Redbirds played 12-deep with nobody playing more than 25 minutes, nine scored
- ISU recorded eight assists on their first 11 baskets, finishing with 16 on 23 makes for the game
- Illinois State will look to become just the 16th top seed in 40 tries to win the tournament title and the top seed has won just eight times in the 26-year history in St. Louis