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Illinois State vs Northwestern

Illinois St. holds off Northwestern 68-64

By JACK MCCARTHY
Associated Press
  •  

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Freshman Tony Wills hit two free throws with 5.9 seconds left as Illinois State held off a late Northwestern comeback to secure a 68-64 non-conference victory on Sunday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Teammates Zach Lofton and Daishon Knight led a balanced attack with 15 points apiece while John Jones had 11, Reggie Lynch added 10 and Michael Middlebrooks collected 11 rebounds.

The Redbirds (1-2) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the third time in the five meetings with the Wildcats.

Northwestern (1-2) rallied from a 19-point second half deficit and trailed 66-64 after JerShon Cobb's jumper with 8.2 seconds to play. But Wills locked down the win seconds later with his free throws.

Cobb closed with 19 points, and Drew Crawford had 13 while Tre Demps added 12.

The Redbirds overcame a sluggish start and took a lead for good in the game's ninth minute.

Northwestern opened an early 8-3 lead while Illinois State hit just one of its first nine field goals. The Wildcats then missed seven straight shots while the Redbirds sprinted to an 15-8 lead by the 8:06 mark after back-to-back Knight layups, a Lynch dunk and another a fast break jam by Middlebrooks.

The Redbirds later used a 9-0 run to open a 31-17 lead with 4:04 showing on the way to a 40-22 halftime edge. Lofton had 12 first-half points on 3-of-6 shooting from the arc. Northwestern missed all seven 3-point tries.

The Wildcats opened the second half with six unanswered points, including a Dave Sobolewski 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 12.

The Redbirds replied with seven straight points, including a Lofton 3-pointer for a 47-28 lead with 16:04 remaining.

Another Northwestern surge cut the Illinois State lead to single digits at 53-44 when Sobolewski drove uncontested for a layup with 10 minutes left.

The Wildcats trailed 63-56 with 2:28 to play, hit 4-of-6 free throws over the next two minutes and had two Cobb baskets.

Northwestern, under first-year coach Chris Collins, has four starters back from a team that went 13-19 under former coach Bill Carmody. Second-year Redbirds coach Dan Muller opened the season with just two returnees, no seniors and nine players with no Division I experience.

Chris Collins is the son of Redbirds legend Doug Collins, Illinois State's all-time leading scorer (2,240 points) who later went on to a lengthy NBA career as a player and coach.

Both teams resume play Wednesday with Northwestern at Illinois-Chicago while Illinois State hosts Manhattan.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Illinois State (1-2) «402868
Northwestern (1-2)224264

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Missouri Valley
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Wichita St.11-117-633
Evansville8-419-682
Illinois St.8-414-11125
So. Illinois7-518-7131
Indiana St.7-513-11144
N. Iowa6-614-11123
Missouri St.6-610-14230
Loyola-Chi.4-811-13231
Bradley2-104-21294
Drake1-116-18317

Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Iowa10-119-48
Maryland10-221-34
Indiana9-219-555
Michigan St.7-420-416
Purdue7-419-521
Michigan7-417-754
Wisconsin6-414-964
Ohio St.6-514-1084
Nebraska5-613-11163
Northwestern4-716-8109
Penn St.3-812-1299
Illinois3-811-13140
Minnesota0-116-17240
Rutgers0-116-18251
 
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IAST 83 Final
ND 70
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MICH 70 Final
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RMOR 49 Final
UK 87
OAK 67 Final
GONZ 82