Illinois State Redbirds defeat the Chicago State Cougars 91-62
Written by Joe Kennedy on December 15, 2020
The Illinois State Redbirds come out victorious against the Chicago State Cougars, with a final score of 91-62. Coming into the game, the Cougars were already down to six men and two coaches. Despite having a limited roster, the cougars got off to a hot start against the Redbirds.
The Redbirds opened the game down six points in the first five minutes. It was a slow start for the Redbirds, who started the game with poor shooting attempts and struggled on defense. Head coach Dan Muller had to call an early timeout but after the timeout the Redbirds cut into the lead and tied the game with seven minutes left.
ISU scored the last seven points of the half, with Sophomore guard DJ Horne scoring the final 11 points for the Redbirds. Heading into halftime, the Redbirds were able to take a 36-30 lead. Junior Dedric Boyd connected three times behind the arc and had a total of 10 points in the half.
After a rocky first half for the Birds, Dan Muller’s squad came out firing from behind the arc in the second half. Junior transfer Josiah Strong lead the second half charge with 12 points, shooting 80% from beyond the 3-point line. His performance was complimented by nice play from Dusan Mahorcic and DJ Horne who were able to put up 9 and 10 points respectively. Mahorcic found himself in foul trouble when a foul and a subsequent technical put him at four personals. This put a damper on his minutes but gave sophomore Abdou Ndiaye an opportunity to hit the court and post 3 second half blocks.
On the Chicago State side of the ball things were not running as smoothly. The Cougars came out flat-footed letting the Birds go on a 21-6 run in the first seven minutes of the second half. This problem was only exacerbated by the loss of guard Rajeir Jones to injury, leaving Chicago State without a sub for the final 9 minutes of the game. Senior Xavier Johnson was able to step up and try to spark the wet match that was the Cougar offense. His 15 second half points kept the score respectable before the Birds ran away with it in the last few minutes.
The Birds were able to get some fresh legs on the court in garbage time including freshmen Jayden Johnson and Nik Stadelman, the former hitting a three pointer late. The 91-62 victory caps off the Redbirds nonconference play as they travel up to Chicago to take on Loyola on December 27th.