Redbirds come back to top Northern Iowa, 79-75

NORMAL, Ill. — Malik Yarbrough converted five straight free throws in the final minute to allow Illinois State to hold off a late rally by Northern Iowa, 79-75 in a Missouri Valley Conference clash on Saturday night.

Illinois State entered the game tied with Drake for the No. 3 seed into the conference tournament. The Bulldogs face Missouri State Sunday afternoon. Northern Iowa is in ninth place, a game behind Indiana State.

The Panthers took an 11-point lead into intermission, but the Redbirds hit five consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half and Yarbrough tied the game on a layup with 14:34 left. Isaac Gassman drilled a 3 with 11:50 to go to put Illinois State up for good, 51-49.

Yarbrough finished with 25 points, six boards, nine assists and three steals. Illinois State (15-13, 9-7) knocked down 15 of 27 shots from behind the 3-point arc. William Tinsley was 6 of 9 from deep and finished with 18 points.

Klint Carlson scored 20 points and grabbed nine boards to lead Northern Iowa (13-15, 5-11). Spencer Haldeman added 16 and Tywhon Pickford added 14 points and eight rebounds.

ILLINOIS ST. 79, N. IOWA 75

At Normal, Ill.

N. IOWA (13-15) — Carlson 7-11 4-6 20, Koch 3-3 1-3 7, Brown 1-7 0-0 2, Pickford 5-12 4-4 14, Rhodes 1-4 3-3 6, Phyfe 0-0 0-0 0, Friedman 1-1 0-0 2, Haldeman 5-8 4-5 16, W.Lohaus 3-9 0-0 8. TOTALS 26-55 16-21 75.

ILLINOIS ST. (15-13) — Yarbrough 8-17 7-9 25, Ndiaye 2-2 0-0 4, Tinsley 6-9 0-0 18, Williams 2-3 2-2 7, Evans 2-8 4-6 10, Hein 0-0 1-2 1, Gassman 3-5 0-0 9, Clarance 2-5 0-0 5. TOTALS 25-49 14-19 79.

Halftime–N. Iowa 37-26. 3-Point Goals–N. Iowa 7-19 (Carlson 2-4, Haldeman 2-4, W.Lohaus 2-6, Rhodes 1-2, Brown 0-1, Pickford 0-2), Illinois St. 15-27 (Tinsley 6-9, Gassman 3-4, Yarbrough 2-5, Evans 2-5, Williams 1-2, Clarance 1-2). Fouled Out–Brown. Rebounds–N. Iowa 30 (Carlson 9), Illinois St. 20 (Yarbrough 6). Assists–N. Iowa 13 (Brown 4), Illinois St. 19 (Yarbrough 9). Total Fouls–N. Iowa 18, Illinois St. 21. A–6,535 (10,200).