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Illinois State basketball fans are invited to take part in a pregame reception at Bar 63 in Chicago when the Redbirds play at Loyola on Jan. 31.

The reception will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Bar 63 is located at 6341 N. Broadway, Chicago. Cost is $10 per person for a heavy appetizer buffet, soft drinks and a cash bar. The ISU-Loyola game tips off at 1 p.m.

Parking is available on the street in front of the restaurant or in the Loyola parking structure on Kenmore. Loyola’s Gentile Arena is a five-minute walk from Bar 63.

Fans can register until Jan. 27 at Alumni.IllinoisState.edu/Loyola, or by calling Illinois State Alumni Relations at (309) 438-2586.

Gymnast earns weekly honor: Illinois State freshman gymnast Marie Priest was named Midwest Independent Conference (MIC) Specialist of the Week for her performance on the vault, floor and balance beam in a dual meet Sunday against Southeast Missouri State.

Priest had the highest score for the Redbirds on vault (9.550) and floor (9.700). She had ISU's second-highest score on the balance beam (9.600).

ISU faces Centenary at 2 p.m. Sunday at Horton Field House.

ILLINOIS

Co-coordinators on defense? Illinois appears to be at least considering hiring a co-defensive coordinator to work alongside current coordinator Tim Banks.

The university posted a job opening on Monday on its website for an assistant coach that could be a co-coordinator.

Sports information director Kent Brown said Tuesday he believed coach Tim Beckman is "keeping his options open" but didn't know if the ad indicates Beckman definitely plans to hire a co-coordinator.

Banks has been widely criticized the past two seasons as Illinois' defense struggled. The Illini (6-7) were last in the 14-team Big Ten in both scoring defense and total defense this season.

ELSEWHERE

Court upholds $1.2M judgment against Ford: An Ohio appeals court has upheld a $1.2 million judgment against former Kent State basketball coach Geno Ford over his 2011 departure to become coach at Bradley.

The ruling issued earlier this week sided with Kent State after it sued its former coach over breach of contract. The school's lawsuit claimed Ford didn't have permission to end his Kent State contract that was scheduled to expire this year.

Ford's teams won two consecutive Mid-American Conference regular-season titles during his three years at Kent State.

He's had losing records in two of his first three seasons at Bradley.

Ford's attorney declined to comment.

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Sports Editor

Sports editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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