February 1, 2023
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McChesney Career-High, Redbird Hot Shooting, Lead to ISU MVC Win

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NORMAL, Ill. – Behind a career-high 25 points from junior forward Liam McChesney, and a Redbird squad that made 54.5 percent of its shots, and 61.9 percent from long range (13-of-21), Illinois State picked up an 87-77 win, in which it out-scored Belmont 57-46 in the second half.

McChesney led a quartet of Redbirds in double-figure scoring with his 25 points, making 9-of-12 shots from the field while being perfect from long range (2-for-2) and the free throw line (5-of-5). Seneca Knight scored 17 points, hitting 6-of-9 shots from the field, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, and both of his charity stripe attempts. Luke Kasubke scored 13 points off the bench, going 4-of-7 from long range, as Kendall Lewis scored 11.

Darius Burford and McChesney each pulled down a game-high-tying eight rebounds, as ISU out-rebounded Belmont 37-to-21. Three players – Lewis, Malachi Poindexter, and Kasubke – each dished out four assists, tying career-highs for Lewis and Poindexter in the process. Lewis led ISU with two steals, as McChesney had a pair of blocked shots.

The Redbirds (3-6, 1-1 MVC) struggled to score early in the game, as Belmont (5-4, 1-1 MVC) ran off seven consecutive points to start the game, before ISU first reached the scoring column 4:44 into the game when Knight converted on a lay-up. The Redbirds fought back with a 9-1 run to take a one-point lead before the visitors ran off eight straight points, holding ISU without a point for five minutes. Trailing 16-9 halfway through the period, the Redbirds rallied using a 9-3 first-half-ending run to close the gap to one at 31-30.

Belmont pushed its lead to three early in the second half before ISU went on an 8-0 run to take a five-point, 40-35 lead, and would not give up the advantage for the remainder of the game. During the second-half-opening stretch, ISU made 10-of-11 shots, and made its first eight three-pointers of the period, first missing a long-range shot 11 minutes into the half. By the time the Redbirds missed their first three-pointer of the half the hosts pushed ahead to a double-digit lead, which it would keep for the rest of the game in the 10-point MVC win.

The Bruins were led by Ben Sheppard who scored 23 points, with Ja’Kobi Gillespie scoring 13, Case Tyson 10, and Dre Friberg 10. Three Belmont players tied for the team-high with three rebounds, while Keishawn Davidson dished out a game-high six assists.

The Redbirds turn around and host Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, December 7.


  • Illinois State is now 3-6 on the season and 1-1 in the MVC while Belmont is 5-4, 1-1 in conference play.
  • Illinois State used a starting lineup of 1 Malachi Poindexter, 3 Seneca Knight, 10 Darius Burford, 13 Liam McChesney, and 22 Kendall Lewis

    • This is the sixth time that this lineup has been used this season.

  • Today’s game is the third time these two teams have met on the basketball court, and the first time as members of the MVC.

    • Illinois State now leads the all-time series 2-1, and each team’s win has come on their own home court.

  • Illinois State won the opening tip.
  • The first Illinois State points of the game came with 15:16 to play in the first half on a Seneca Knight lay-up.
  • Illinois State’s first subs were Colton Sandage and Jayden Johnson with 16:46 to play in the first half.
  • Belmont led 31-30 at halftime.
  • Illinois State is the first team in the MVC this season with four different players having scored at least 20 points in a game, including Kendall Lewis, Darius Burford, Seneca Knight and now Liam McChesney.
  • The Redbird win snapped a Belmont win streak of 59 games when the Bruins were leading at halftime.

    • Belmont’s last loss when leading at halftime was on January 25, 2020 (at Austin Peay).

  • Illinois State’s 13 three-point baskets are tied for 18th most in a game in program history.
  • ISU’s three-point percentage of .619 (13-of-21) is tied for the 19th-best single-game total in school history, and the seventh-best in arena history.
  • The 57 second-half points scored by the Redbirds are the sixth-most in a game inside of CEFCU Arena (including games when the arena was named Redbird Arena).


  • Luke Kasubke

    • Reached double-figure scoring for the third time this season.
    • His four three-pointers tied a career-high

  • Malachi Poindexter

    • By making all four of his free throws, he moves to 13-for-13 this season from the charity stripe.
    • Tied a career-high with four assists (set the career-high on Thursday against Murray State)

  • Seneca Knight

    • Scored in double figures for the fourth time this season and second consecutive game.

      • The game was his 48th double-figure scoring game of his career.

  • Darius Burford

    • Set a season-high in rebounding for the second consecutive game, pulling down eight against Belmont.

  • Liam McChesney

    • Scored a career-high 25 points for the Redbirds.
    • Scored in double-figures for the second consecutive game, and the second time this season.

      • It is his eighth double-figure scoring game of his career.

    • Also set career-highs in field goals made and field goals attempted.

  • Kendall Lewis

    • Scored in double-figures for the third consecutive game.

      • He has scored in double figures six times this season and 30 times in his career.

    • His four assists tied a career-high.

      • This season he is now one of just eight players in the country with at least 12 blocks, 12 steals, and 12 assists, and the only player to do it while scoring over 110 points.

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