DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell added 14 points and four rebounds for the Redbirds (9-7, 3-0 Missouri Valley Conference). Nick Banyard had 10 points and five rebounds. The team averaged 35.3 percent shooting from the field and 57.9 percent from the line.
The Redbirds didn't score a bucket till Banyard sank a layup nearly eight minutes into the first half. They went on to take a 26-21 lead at the break.
Hawkins hit a 3-pointer early in the second half and Banyard hit two more midway to help keep the Redbirds out front throughout the period. With three seconds to go, Banyard blocked a shot by Illinois State's Montel James that would have tied the game.
James led the Ramblers (7-8, 0-3) with 14 points and 14 rebounds.