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The Redbirds start off the season with a 74-66 victory

The Redbirds start off the season with a 74-66 victory

NORMAL – The Redbirds Men’s Basketball team won their season opener by a score of 74-66 over Florida Gulf Coast University Tuesday evening.

This is the Redbirds first season opening win since 2012 when they beat UC Santa Barbara. Illinois State will look to keep things flying as they head to Nashville to take on the Belmont Bruins. The game is scheduled to tip off Saturday night at 7 p.m.

When the game first got underway FGCU was playing precise defense and had terrific ball movement. After the second media timeout the Redbirds were down by 4 with a score of 18-14, during the timeout the Redbirds talked things over and adjusted their offensive and defensive game plan.

The Redbirds settled into the game and started to make great passes and take smart shots. Towards the end of the first half the Redbirds gained a 9-point lead. Phil Fayne lead the way for the Birds at the half with 11 points. Josh Jefferson was 3-for-3 beyond the arc at half and finished the game with 17 points and 5-for-6 from deep. For the Eagles, Schadrac Casimir shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the 3-point line and finished with 18 total points. The scoring was spread throughout the whole team as Phil Fayne, Milik Yarbrough, and Josh Jefferson all had 17 points.

This is a huge game for the Redbirds as it will give them confidence heading into their tough non-conference schedule. The schedule consists of games against Belmont then traveling to the Grand Cayman where they will face Georgia, then either Clemson or Akron. The Redbirds will then play BYU at home, travel to UIC and finish their non-conference schedule with games against Ole Miss and UCF.

The conference schedule will begin on January 2nd when the Birds head to Valparaiso and hope to fulfill their high expectations on the season.

Joe Kennedy contributed to this story.

WZND Newsroom

November 7th, 2018

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