Missouri Valley Conference: Illinois State Topples Evansville at the Buzzer

Eric BrowningContributor IJanuary 7, 2012

Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael celebrates after hitting the game winner.
Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael celebrates after hitting the game winner.

Illinois State and head coach Tim Jankovich found an unlikely hero on Saturday afternoon as the team escaped fellow Missouri Valley Conference opponent, Evansville.  

The Redbirds won 75-73 to maintain a share of the conference lead. 

With 2.2 seconds left on the clock, Illinois State found themselves down a point. The length of the court was in front of them.

The hero was none other than junior center, Jackie Carmichael.  

Carmichael caught his teammate's one-handed sling in the corner behind the three-point line.  Not a promising position for the 6'9", 240-pound inside specialist.

Carmichael banked a three-pointer as time expired, sending the crowd of 5,333 at Redbird Arena into a frenzy.

The two Missouri Valley opponents exchanged the lead six times in the final five minutes of play.  

Carmichael led the Redbirds with 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.  Junior guard, Tyler Brown, added 16 points.

Colt Ryan, the Purple Aces' junior sharpshooter, scored 29 points (10-15 FGs) to lead all scorers for head coach Marty Simmons' Purple Aces.

Ryans two free throws at the 14:15 mark in the second half brought the score to 49-42, the largest lead of the game.  

But three-pointers from Minnesota transfer Bryant Allen and Tyler Brown helped swing momentum back into Illinois State's favor.  Transfer guard Anthony Cousin's three-pointer with 10:04 left to play gave the Redbirds their first lead since early in the first half.  

Illinois State is 11-4 overall (3-1 in conference), while Evansville drops to 7-7 overall (2-2 in conference).