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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah men's basketball team lost to Illinois State by ten points Saturday at Huntsman Center due to a poor night of shooting.
This is the second straight loss for the Utes and the fourth time they have been beaten within the confines of the Huntsman Center.
The loss puts the Utes one game under .500 at 5-6 while Illinois State snapped a two game loosing streak pushing their record to 8-2 overall. With the Redbird victory the Missouri Valley conference takes a 4-3 lead in the Mountain West/Missouri Valley conference challenge.
The first half of play for the Runnin' Utes was packed full of missed shots. They shot a dismal 9-30 from the field including 1-11 from behind the arch.
"We couldn't hit the broadside of a barn and that made it ugly."
"We couldn't hit the broadside of a barn and that made it ugly," said Coach Jim Boylen after the game.
Down seven going into halftime the Utes made some much needed adjustments on the offensive side of the ball. The Utes shot better in the second half, but so did the Redbirds, leaving the Utes down by ten as time expired.
Kim Tillie (Cagnes-sur-Mer, France) scored 15 of his season high 19 points in the second half in an attempt to take the lead over Illinois State. Tillie also exceed his average in the rebound column pulling down seven boards, one more that he has been averaging. Fellow senior Luka Drca (Belgrade, Serbia) scored 18 points, grabbed a team high 8 rebounds and dished out 5 assists in the loss Saturday. Carlon Brown (Riverside, Calf.) responded well to coming off the bench for the Utes by chalking up 15 points and rebounding five balls.
The Redbird guards Osiris Elridge(Chicago, Illinois) and Lloyd Phillips(Washington, D.C.) each scored 17 points in the win over the Utes. Illinois State found success in the front court was well with Jackie Carmichael(Manhattan,Kansas) owning the glass with a game high 10 rebounds and Dinma Odiakosa(Akwukwu, Nigeria) scoring in double-digits for the fourth straight. game. Being aggressive and attacking the basket put the Redbirds on the free-throw line a total of 29 times where they hit 22 of their freebies.
David Foster went down just after the 19:00 mark of the second half with a sprained left ankle. Coach Boylen will play Foster's status by ear, but in true Boylen fashion he will not rush the big man back until he is ready to play. A timetable has yet to be set.
In the post-game press conference Coach Boylen summed up the game best by saying, "I'm disappointed, but not discouraged."
The Runnin' Utes are back in action next Wednesday night, in Malibu, Calif. to take on the Pepperdine Waves. Tip off is slated for 6:00pm MST.