Illinois State Surprises St. John's

    
November 25th, 2006

QUEENS, N.Y. – The offensive play of point guard Boo Richardson and the defensive effort of Roberto Fortes paved the way as the Illinois State men’s basketball team earned a precious road victory, the Redbirds’ first in 16 games, with a 78-65 victory over St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena, Saturday night.

The road win was the first by ISU since posting a 79-69 win at Wisconsin-Green Bay as part of BracketBusters Saturday. The victory was the third straight for the Redbirds, who improved their record to 3-2, while St. John’s fell to 2-3. The victory was also the Redbirds’ first over the BIG EAST Conference, since defeating St. John’s in Redbird Arena on Dec. 4, 2004.

St. John’s took its only lead of the game at 2-0, but the Redbirds claimed a 9-4 lead after single baskets by four of the five starters. With ISU up 16-13 at the 13:45 mark, the Redbirds went on a 15-3 run, which included a pair of three-pointers by Osiris Eldridge, and took a 31-16 lead with 7:57 on the clock. St. John’s responded with a 9-2 spurt and closed the gap to 33-25 with 4:48 left. The two teams traded baskets the rest of the half and the Redbirds took a 41-31 lead into the locker room.

The Redbirds increased their lead to 15 points at 50-35, thanks to a pair of baskets by Richardson. With Illinois State leading 61-49 and 9:42 left in the game, the Red Storm made their final run. St. John’s used a 9-1 run over the next three minutes to close the gap to 62-58. But, Dom Johnson hit two of three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point try and Richardson added a basket to put the lead back to 66-58.

After a pair of free throws by Daryll Hill, Fortes sank a big three-pointer and Greg Dilligard added five straight points as the Redbirds regained control with a 74-61 advantage. ISU hit 4-of-8 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.

Richardson finished with a game-high 18 points, while Dilligard chipped in 17 points and added 11 rebounds. Fortes also tossed in 13 tallies and Anthony Slack notched 10 points to give ISU four players in double figures. Anthony Mason and Hill each scored 12 points for St. John’s, while Lamont Hamilton finished with 11.

- From Illinois State Media -