Illinois State edges Mississippi in overtime 101-97

Illinois State's Taylor Bruninga (32) knocks the ball away from Mississippi's Bruce Stevens (12) during an NCAA college basketball game, in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Perspective was no problem Saturday for both head coaches after Keyshawn Evans scored 25 points, including the go-ahead basket in overtime as Illinois State defeated Mississippi 101-97.

”I’m still not quite sure how we won this game,” said Illinois State coach Dan Muller, as he quickly walked off the court while his team celebrated behind him. ”It’s big. But it only stays big if we keep winning.”

Illinois State (5-6), led by as many as 14 points in the second half and missed a potential game-winning shot to send it to overtime at 87-87. Evans, who added seven assists and four rebounds, hit a 3-point shot to open overtime – his fifth bucket of the game from behind the arc – and the Redbirds never trailed again.

”It’s incredible. We’ve lost three games in overtime in our own building. Incredible,” Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. ”I’m responsible for this. It’s ridiculous and it’s embarrassing for me.”

Milik Yarbrough also scored 25 points while grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out eight assists to highlight a balanced Illinois State attack. Phil Fayne scored 16 points with 10 rebounds and Madison Williams added 14 points.

Ole Miss (5-5) was led by Bruce Stevens with 27 points while Terence Davis scored 17 points with a team-high nine rebounds. Deandre Burnett scored 19 points with seven assists while Breein Tyree and Marcanvis Hymon added 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Illinois State shot 31 of 73 (43 percent) from the field, 13 of 31 (42 percent) from 3-point range, including consecutive shots from Evans and Matt Hein to build an insurmountable lead to open overtime. The Redbirds finished 26 of 31 (84 percent) from the free throw line.

The Rebels were 31 of 73 (43 percent) from the field and 7 of 26 (27 percent) from the 3-point line. Stevens was 13 of 16 from the free throw line as Ole Miss finished 28 of 37 (76 percent), but were out rebounded 49-41 by the Redbirds.


Illinois State improved to 10-0 against teams from Mississippi, including 4-0 against Ole Miss, dating back to 1978. The Redbirds have also beaten Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley State and Southern Mississippi.


Illinois State: The Redbirds won despite leading scorers Yarbrough and Fayne fouling out at the 6:02 and 3:01 marks in regulation, respectively.

Yarbrough was the game’s dominant offensive player, but Evans was brilliant in the stretch run of regulation and overtime. The Redbirds used a nine-man rotation made up entirely of underclassmen. The win stopped a two-game losing streak.

”I could not be more proud of our guys,” Muller said. ”We’ve got outstanding players sitting on the bench with fouls and the guys on the court kept battling and found a way. This is a young team and now the challenge is to build off this win.”

Ole Miss: The Rebels, after a promising November start, have lost four of the last five and are winless in overtime at home. In each of the overtime losses, the Rebels failed to make a winning play in the final 15 seconds.

This time, Ole Miss led 85-82 with less than two minutes in regulation and Davis had a shot blocked with 3.8 seconds remaining. The lone positive was the breakout offensive performance by Stevens, which included seven rebounds and two assists.

”You’ve got to be able to make a play at the end of the game and we have not been able to do that,” Kennedy said. ””I still believe we have the players to do that, but we have to finish games.”


Illinois State: The Redbirds host UIC on Tuesday.

Ole Miss: The Rebels host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday.