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Redbirds outmatched by Crusaders

Written by on February 6, 2019

NORMAL – The Illinois State Men’s Basketball team watched their reign over the Missouri Valley Conference comes to an end as they fell to the Valparaiso Crusaders 69-53.

The Redbirds came into Tuesday night’s contest with a 7-3 conference record and riding a 3-game win streak. Despite the momentum coming into the game the Birds struggled to find any offensive production with Zac Copeland being their only double-digit scorer tallying 17 points.

“Part of it was the pressure and us trying to make something happen too fast…” Copeland said. “Then part of it was not moving around on offense, not moving the ball and making the defense shoot. We just didn’t execute on offense at all.”

Valpo had much better fortunes offensively as freshman guard Javon Freeman came away with a career high 27 points. His performance was complemented by a 16 point performance by center Derrik Smits and other contributions from up and down Valpo’s bench. The Crusaders also shot an impressive 50.9% from the field and kept the Redbirds top scorers quiet with Malik Yarbrough and Phil Fayne only combining for 17 points.

“Credit to Valpo, they were great.” Redbirds coach Dan Muller said after the game. “We got out played and out coached and I want to give them a lot of credit.”

The Redbirds will look to recover and rebound from this loss as they have a short break before hitting the road to take on the Missouri State Bears. That game will tip-off at 7 p.m.

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