Deontae Hawkins scored 19 points, Keyshawn Evans had 16 and Illinois State set a program record on Friday with its 26th win, beating Evansville 80-69 on Friday in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Paris Lee added 13 points with seven assists and DJ Clayton had 12 points for the Redbirds (26-5), who blocked a tournament and school record 14 shots. Hawkins, Phil Fayne and Daouda Ndiaye had four blocks apiece.
The Redbirds face the Loyola-Southern Illinois winner in a semifinal on Saturday.
Illinois State, the top seed, shot 51 percent (27 of 53), had five more 3-pointers and was plus-six at the foul line but didn't put away the Purple Aces (16-17) until they made 7 of 8 free throws in the closing minute.
Jaylon Brown, who had 24 points, scored four points and Christian Benzon had a layup as Evansville quickly cut a 10-point deficit down to 73-69 with less than a minute to play. But the Redbirds made their free throws and the Purple Aces missed their last two shots.
Benzon had 11 points and 10 rebounds and David Howard scored 14 points for Evansville.