Hines' Career High Lifts Men's Basketball Over Illinois State
NORMAL, Ill. – A career-high 23 points from Chris Hines (Houston, Texas) and a tough second-half defensive effort helped propel the Drake University men’s basketball team over Illinois State, 82-77, Saturday night at Redbird Arena.
Facing a 9-point first-half deficit after allowing the Redbirds to shoot 54.8 percent from the field, the defense stole the show in the second half by keeping Illinois State (9-8, 0-5 MVC) without a field goal for the first 6:13 of the half to take the lead. The Redbirds mustered just 32.4 percent shooting in the stanza.
“I thought we did a better job in the second half of playing hard and outside of ourselves – and that showed on defense.” Drake head coach Mark Phelps said.
Jordan Clarke (Rockville, Md.) scored Drake’s (7-9, 1-4 MVC) first six points of the half and finished the game with a 16-point, 11-rebound effort that included 7-of-7 shooting.
“Jordan is starting to step outside his comfort zone and be a more vocal leader,” Phelps said. “We heard his voice out there tonight.”
Fellow senior Ben Simons (Cadillac, Mich.) capped the run that gave the Bulldogs the lead at 46-44 with five straight points. Simons matched Hines with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists.
“The way we played on defense carried over to offense especially in taking care of the ball,” Phelps added. “We had just five second-half turnovers after 10 in the first half.”
The Bulldogs continued to build that lead to as many as 15 at one point, thanks in large part to five combined second-half three-pointers from Hines and Simons. Drake’s shooters rediscovered their touch after series of subpar games by shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range with 10 three-pointers.
With 6:31 left, Drake still led by 14 points, 72-58, before the Redbirds started to chip away at the margin . A 15-5 run by ISU closed the gap to two possessions, 77-73, with 47 seconds left. Drake was able to navigate through the trapping defense in the final minute and converted its free throws to stave off the Redbirds.
Two of those free-throws that helped seal the win came off the fingertips of freshman Joey King (Eagan, Minn.) who notched his first double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Johnny Hill paced ISU with 24 points while Bryant Allen added 22 points, but just six in the second half.
Drake returns to the Knapp Center for its next contest, a Jan. 16 date against Evansville. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Mediacom MC22.