NORMAL, Ill. – There are a lot of things that are new with the Redbirds’ men’s basketball program this season as they start the Ryan Pedon era in Bloomington-Normal.
But Illinois State took a moment to bring back some of their past on Saturday – turning back the clock three decades for a most unique regular season game.
On Saturday, the team faced SIUE at Horton Fieldhouse, returning for a contest at their old home on campus. Dubbed “Return to Horton,” it was the first regular season game at the venue since 1988 when they left the fieldhouse to play at Redbird Arena.
A number of alumni returned for the game, including College Basketball Hall of Famer Doug Collins, who was a star for Illinois State in the early 1970s and was a consensus All-American in 1973.
Pedon, who is in his first season as the head coach at ISU, even donned a plaid coat to mark the occasion.
The Redbirds wouldn’t disappoint the home fans as they rallied from a one-point halftime deficit to beat SIUE 77-71 in the unique throwback game. Darius Burford had a game-high 20 points for Illinois State while Colton Sandage had 16 and Seneca Knight 12 for the win that improves their record to 5-6 on the season.
While no longer the home of the basketball program, Horton Fieldhouse still serves as a venue fro indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and gymnastics along with a practice space for other teams.
Larry Hawley featured Illinois State’s “Return to Horton” in his “Random Hawlight” for this week and you can watch that in the video above.