NORMAL, Ill. — Junior Levi Dyer scored 20 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point land, as the Illinois State men’s basketball team defeated Wichita State 83-75 in a Missouri Valley Conference game Thursday night at Redbird Arena. Dyer became the first player this season to tally 20-plus points in consecutive games, and it marked the first time in Dyer’s career that he reached the 20 point plateau in back-to-back games.
Head coach Porter Moser secured his 100th career coaching victory, leading the Redbirds to its first win over the Shockers since January, 2002.
The Redbirds (10-9, 2-6 MVC) reached the 80-point mark for the first time since January 22, 2005, in an overtime win at Creighton. The ‘Birds also had four players reach double figures, as freshman Osiris Eldridge (16 points), junior Anthony Slack (14 points) and senior Greg Dilligard (10 points) all chipped in for the win.
The Shockers (12-7, 3-5 MVC) were led by senior Kyle Wilson, who scored a game-high 27 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Wichita State had three players reach double-digits in points, as P.J. Couisnard and Ryan Martin scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The first half began with both teams trading baskets until Wichita State was able to take an early lead at 10-5, courtesy of a layup from Ryan Martin at the 12:45 mark. The ‘Birds knotted the score at 10 when Dom Johnson hit a leaning jumper at 11:52; however, ISU and WSU traded baskets again until a layup in traffic from Slack gave the Redbirds a 19-17 advantage with 8:01 remaining.
The Redbirds were able to pull ahead, 30-22, when they went on a 13-5 scoring run that spanned just under five minutes. The run was sparked by sophomore Mike Vandello, who had five points. However, the Shockers went on a 7-4 spurt to close the gap at the half, 34-29.
Dyer led the ‘Birds with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the opening period. Wichita State’s Martin led all scorers with 12 points and six rebounds. The Redbirds were able to get a push from their bench, as Illinois State outscored Wichita State 11-3. The Redbirds’ 34 points were also a season-high mark for a half in Valley play.
The second half began similar to the opening frame, as both the Redbirds and Shockers traded early buckets. It wasn’t until a 10-3 run by the ‘Birds that ISU was able to take a 54-45 advantage on a three pointer from Eldridge with 9:34 remaining, forcing a Shocker timeout. Wichita State was able to re-group and cut into the ‘Birds’ lead on a 7-2 run, paced by three points from guard Matt Braeuer, with the Redbirds clinging to a 54-52 lead with 8:16 left.
The ‘Birds took their largest lead of the game after Slack hit two free throws and Illinois State built a 10-point lead at 67-57 at the 4:22 mark. They matched the 10-point lead at 70-60 after Slack hit a layup and was fouled by the Shockers’ Wilson, nailing the subsequent free throw. Wilson committed his fifth foul during the play and fouled out with 27 points.
The Shockers rallied once again to cut the margin to 76-72 with 55.8 seconds remaining. But, after the Shockers regained possession on a jump ball, Gal Mekel attempted a shot that was blocked by Slack and sparked a fast break in which Boo Richardson converted an uncontested layup to put the game out of reach.