Birds Cruise Past Evansville
Written by Blake Borgardt on January 21, 2022
NORMAL, Ill. – The Redbirds improve their record to 10-9 on the back of 16 points from Antonio Reeves against Evansville with a final score of 94-56.
Following a disappointing loss against the Missouri State Bears the Birds needed a bounce back game to gain some momentum heading into the final half of their season. They got it tonight.
“We stayed the course,” said guard Antonio Reeves. “We made sure we stayed together as a team, and we’re just focusing on our next game.”
The Birds took to the paint for the majority of their offensive production, scoring 52 points from shortrange. Getting help from forward Ryan Schmitt, who posted a career high 9 points and two consecutive dunks late in the game.
“I feel like that shows we can score on the inside,” said forward Sy Chatman. “If a team isn’t as physical as us and if they don’t have an inside presence like that and do what we know we can do.”
The Birds didn’t let it fly from the three point line often, but when they did they found success there as well. The team as a whole shot 50% from beyond the arc, with Jayden Johnson hitting 3-3 from three.
“Our guys love each other and Jayden is a big part of our team,” said Head Coach Muller. “I think throughout the entire game we had guys on the bench cheering for the starters and starters cheering for guys on the bench. We got a really close group.”
Not only were the Birds rolling on offense, their defensive performance would have brought a tear to the eye of the ’88 Detroit Pistons. Leading the Birds on the defensive end of the court was Kendall Lewis with two blocks and steals, and a handful of other Redbirds posting one block and steal.
“I feel comfortable putting Kendall on anyone in the league,” said Coach Muller. “It’s a luxury to have a guy like Kendall, he’s really developing offensively and he’s really starting to see the fruits of his labor.”
The Birds were able to capitalize off of steals and blocks with fast-breaks, posting 25 points against the discombobulated Evansville transition defense.
“We are really dangerous in transition,” said Coach Muller. “Teams should sprint back really hard against us when we get a steal or stop because our guys are fast and skilled.”
After tonight’s contest junior guard Antonio Reeves needs only eight points to become the 53rd highest Redbird in program history.
“I’m not really thinking about that right now,” said Reeves. “I’m really thinking about just trying to get wins and make the tournament right now.”
The Birds will look to face off against Evansville once more this weekend, tomorrow afternoon on the road in Evansville.