NORMAL, Ill. -- Daishon Knight scored 16 points as Illinois State overcame a woeful shooting afternoon to beat visiting DePaul, 69-64, on Sunday.
The Redbirds (7-5) rallied from a 7-point second half deficit despite shooting 31 percent from the field, including just 5-of-26 from behind the arc. Zach Lofton added 14 and Nick Zeisloft 11 for the Redbirds, who made 24 of 30 free throws to offset the woeful shooting.
DePaul was down two with 36 seconds left but with the possession arrow in ISU's favor Knight forced a jump ball, tying up DePaul's Garrett. He was fouled on the ensuing inbounds and made one free throw to give Illinois State a 67-64 lead with 15 seconds left. A long 3 from Brandon Young wasn't close and Bobby Hunter grabbed the rebound and made two free throws for the final margin.
A back and forth game that was tied eight times and saw the lead change four times. Illinois State was outrebounded and was 5-of-26 from 3-point range in the game but took advantage of 16 turnovers by the Blue Demons (7-5), scoring 17 points off those DePaul miscues. Illinois State turned the ball over just six times.
Illinois State managed an 11-2 run late in the first half to take a 27-23 lead with just more than six minutes left. A 3-pointer by Zeisloft gave the Redbirds a 37-34 lead at halftime.
Illinois St. was 11-of-14 from the free throw line in the first half, compared to the Blue Demons making just four of six from the line before the break. DePaul hung around in the first half by making four 3-pointers. Illinois State meanwhile went just 2-of-13 from behind the arc in the first half.
Illinois State held DePaul star Cleveland Melvin to just four points. Melvin entered the game averaging 17.6 points per game.
Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, considered a lock to leave the program before struggling in the second half last season, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his junior season.
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku, who recently underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart rhythm issue detected during the combine, will keep his name in the NBA draft pool.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.