To start off the second day of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament, first seed Illinois State University (ISU) took on the eighth seed University of Evansville in the first quarterfinal matchup. Despite the Purple Aces’ best efforts, the Redbirds came out on top 80-69 to advance to the semifinals.
For the first 10 minutes of the game, Evansville had the lead and looked like it was going to make Illinois St. work to win the game. But, ISU took its first lead with 8:35 remaining before the break and never looked back. The Redbird defense swatted away a MVC tournament record 14 shots, breaking Wichita State University’s record of 11 set, appropriately, against Evansville.
However, Evansville didn’t go down easy. Shrinking the deficit down to as little as four points late in the game, Illinois St. head coach Dan Muller was forced to sub senior guard Paris Lee and forward Deontae Hawkins back in for the final minutes.
Evansville senior Jaylon Brown was on the court for every play, and logged 79 total minutes in Evansville’s two tournament games. Despite his workload, he still managed to score a game-high 24 points.
Hawkins led the way for the Redbirds with 19 points while CJ Evans added 16 of ISU’s 30 bench points.
The Redbirds advance to the semi-final round of Arch Madness where they are scheduled to take on Southern Illinois University.