NORMAL — Anthony Cousin was among seven Illinois State newcomers getting used to playing at Redbird Arena with fans in the stands Wednesday night.

“We all had butterflies for our first game,” said the sophomore point guard. “After the first couple minutes of the game they went away.”

That wasn’t true for everyone.

ISU coach Tim Jankovich, and most of the crowd of 3,818, were squirming in their seats when Quincy took a six-point lead early in the second half. But the Redbirds used a lethal 3-point attack to take command en route to an 80-70 victory over the Division II Hawks in ISU’s lone exhibition game.

Thanks to 16-of-30 shooting from outside the arc, ISU avoided what happened to Bradley four days earlier. Quincy went into Peoria and walked off with an 86-80 victory over the stunned Braves.

“I was amazed how well we shot the ball given maybe there was some tightness with these guys not playing here (before),” said Jankovich, whose team opens at  2:05 p.m. Sunday against Southern Illinois Edwardsville at Redbird Arena.

The depth Jankovich has talked about in the preseason was obvious. Justin Clark led the Redbirds with 11 points, while redshirt freshman Jon Ekey added 10. Eight players had at least seven points.

ISU also showed plenty of unselfishness with 24 assists on their 27 baskets. Seven players sank at least two 3-pointers.

“We can all shoot,” said Cousin. “If you’re open you shoot it.”

Of course, there were more ISU baskets outside the arc than inside it by a 16-11 count. “I didn’t feel we threw the ball inside nearly enough,” said Jankovich. “Maybe it was first-game jitters not wanting to make a mistake.”

Quincy also grabbed a 32-27 rebounding advantage.

“We want to win that (rebounding) battle every game,” said Ekey. “I’m sure we’ll work it out. Hopefully it won’t happen very often.”

Quincy shot 59 percent in the first half, which ended in a 38-all tie after the Hawks’ Chris Babbitt sank a 19-foot jumper with three seconds left.

The Hawks bolted in front, 44-38, two minutes into the second half. Before you could say “Bradley,” though, Cousin and Clark sank back-to-back 3-pointers that started the Redbirds on a 16-5 run.

ISU sophomore forward John Wilkins got hot later in the half. Wilkins, who must sit out the first five regular-season games for an NCAA suspension for playing in a Belgium pro league when he was 16, made three straight 3-pointers after Quincy closed within 61-56 with 8:50 left.

“It was a relief,” said Wilkins, playing in his first game in two years.

The Redbirds never let the lead slip below nine again.

“It was no fun if you were me being behind, but I told our team at one timeout this was great and you couldn’t hope for it to be better,” said Jankovich. “What if you’re up 15 the whole game and learn nothing? Hat’s off to Quincy. They served a purpose for an exhibition game and then some for us.”

Quincy, which also lost to Southern Illinois, was led by guard Tyler Thompson with 14 points. The Hawks cooled off in the second half, shooting 40 percent.

The Redbirds’ 3-point attack wasn’t Quincy coach Marty Bell’s biggest worry coming into the game.

“I was more concerned with their size and athleticism. They’re a lot bigger than us,” said Bell. “We did an admirable job on the boards, but there’s not as many rebounds when they’re making shots.”

ISU senior forward Tony Lewis sat out with a foot injury, while sophomore guard Trey Blue sprained his left ankle with 5:49 left. Their status isn’t known for Sunday.

Redbird report card

FRONT COURT - C-: Getting outrebounded by five wasn't a good sign. Jackie Carmichael working himself back into shape. Jon Ekey showed some hops with four blocks.

BACKCOURT - B-: Outstanding ball sharing led to 24 assists on 27 baskets. Anthony Cousin handed out five assists, while Kenyon Smith had five steals.

BENCH - B: John Wilkins got hot in second half, burying three 3-pointers in last action until Nov. 28. Austin Hill was ill last week, but responded with nine points.

OVERALL - B-: Rallying from a six-point second-half deficit was perhaps the best thing for a young team which will be a work in progress throughout the season.

 

Illinois State 80, Quincy 70

AT NORMAL – REDBIRD ARENA

QUINCY

    Min    FG    FT    Reb    A    PF    Pt

Coleman    19    2-5    0-0    3    0    3    4

Kueker    34    5-9    0-0    6    4    1    13

Thompson    23    5-8    3-4    6    3    2    14

Edmonds    27    2-5    0-0    1    1    0    6

Belger    28    3-6    1-3    3    3    1    7

Highberger    13    3-5    2-2    1    1    1    10

Brown    3    0-1    0-0    0    0    0    0

Ross    1    0-0    0-0    0    0    0    0

Babbitt    18    2-7    3-4    5    0    0    7

Anderson    5    0-0    0-0    0    0    1    0

Simmons    6    0-0    0-0    0    0    3    0

Burke    15    3-6    0-0    2    3    2    7

Wiss    8    0-0    2-2    2    1    2    2

Team                3

Totals    200    25-52    11-15    32    16    16    70

ILLINOIS STATE

    Min    FG    FT    Reb    A    PF    Pt

Ekey    17    4-6    0-0    4    2    4    10

Carmichael    20    2-5    3-4    7    1    2    7

Cousin    17    3-5    0-0    3    5    2    9

Rubin    26    3-5    0-0    0    4    2    8

Clark    23    4-11    1-2    0    3    2    11

Upshaw    1    0-0    0-0    0    0    1    0

Blue    18    2-3    1-2    4    3    1    7

Wilkins    23    3-5    0-0    3    1    1    9

Smith    20    0-2    2-2    4    2    1    2

Threloff    6    1-1    0-1    0    0    0    2

Hill    15    3-6    1-2    0    3    2    9

Mishler    14    2-3    2-2    1    0    1    6

Team                1

Totals    200    27-52    10-15    27    24    19    80

Quincy        38     32   —    70

Illinois State        38     42   —   80

Three-point field goals: Quincy 9-20 (Coleman 0-1, Kueker 3-4, Thompson 1-3, Edmonds 2-3, Belger 0-1, Highberger 2-4, Brown 0-1, Burke 1-3); Illinois State 16-30 (Ekey 2-4, Cousin 3-5, Rubin 2-3, Clark 2-6, Blue 2-3, Wilkins 3-4, Smith 0-2, Hill 2-3).

Turnovers: Quincy 16, Illinois State 12. Blocked shots: Quincy 0; Illinois State 5 (Ekey 4, Wilkins 1). Steals: Quincy 6 (Coleman, Kueker, Thompson, Edmonds, Belger, Babbitt); Illinois State 9 (Rubin 2, Smith 5, Threloff 1, Mishler 1).

Attendance: 3,818.

 

 

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