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Redbird Basketball Falls To Northern Iowa 72-70 In First Game Under Jones

Written by on February 15, 2022

NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State Redbirds take the court with interim head coach Brian Jones at the helm. After a chaotic 48 hours for the team, the Birds looked to stay focused on the task at hand with the University of Northern Iowa.

Antonio Reeves led the charge for the Redbirds, racking up 27 points. The effort was not enough to hold off UNI as the Panthers take the game 72-70.

“We wanted to come out, compete for 40 minutes, don’t worry about the score, and just play for one another,” Jones comments.

Weathering a storm is nothing new to the Illinois State team. Kendall Lewis, the junior forward, was a rebounding force, gathering 14 boards and contributing 15 points of his own.

The exciting bout came down to one last possession for the Redbirds. Down by two with 22 seconds left, Antonio Reeves drives but was stopped by Noah Carter and the UNI defense.

Interim head coach Brian Jones is no stranger to the skipper position. Jones held the head coaching position at the University of North Dakota for 13 seasons and was awarded the Big Sky Conference coach of the year in the 2016-2017 season.

“The guys made it easy. They were competing, they were executing, the staff did a good job of getting them ready for today,” said Coach Jones.

The Panthers continue to be a problem for Illinois state. AJ Green contributed 20 points and was 4-8 from behind the arc. The lights out shooting from Green combined with the effort on both ends from Noah Carter bested the Redbirds tonight.

“They’ve played hard throughout the year, and I didn’t expect anything different. The situation around Dan and the team right now is a lot to handle,” comments UNI head coach Ben Jacobson.

Illinois State looks to Friday, to take on Bradley University in Peoria for an exciting Valley matchup.