Redbirds Earn Much-Needed Win in a Physical Victory Against Belmont
Written by Luke Biondi on December 4, 2022
NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State Men’s Basketball team took a hard-earned victory over the Belmont Bruins today.
This win ends a 5-game losing streak for the Redbirds and also showed flashes of the team demonstrating their chemistry and physicality. Much of this matchup was fought under the basket, with 72 of the total 164 combined points being scored in the paint.
The Redbirds were not only productive on offense, as their defensive performance, shutdowns, and takeaways were able to shift the game’s momentum in an instant. The Birds amassed a total of five blocks during the game, two of which came from forward Liam McChesney during a monstrous performance.
McChesney led the Redbirds in scoring, putting up 25 points for the day. His focus and drive showed the entire game, which was reflected in his perfect free throw and three point shooting. McChesney’s hustle in the paint let the redbirds capitalize on second opportunities, with McChesney earning 8 total rebounds and the redbird scoring 12 second-chance points compared to Belmont’s 4.
“To be honest, my team got me going,” said McChesney after his dominant performance. “I just took it from there. They put me in positions and coach put me in positions to score.”
Belmont Guard Ben Sheppard did a lot of heavy lifting for his offense, playing a total of 38 minutes and scoring 23 points.
Belmont’s offense struggled late in the game to score crucial three pointers as the Redbirds’ lead grew, with the team going 8 of 18 outside of the line. Belmont also struggled with late-game rebounding, getting out rebounded by ISU 37 to 21.
Along with impressive individual performances, the Redbirds played with a chemistry that seemed to help in areas where the team had been struggling. The Redbirds had more assists than the Bruins, with ISU’s Kendall Lewis, Malachai Poindexter, and Luke Kasubke each contributing four assists.
Luke Kasubke attributed his spectacular performance to his teammates’ communication and vision on offense, saying “My teammates did a good job of finding me when I was open, so early on I was able to knock down a bunch of shots. Liam was crowding the paint and drawing a lot of attention, which gave me a lot of open looks.”