Phil Fayne scored 17 points and blocked four shots as Illinois State opened Missouri Valley Conference action with a 62-50 victory over Evansville on Thursday night.
Fayne was 8 of 12 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds. MiKyle McIntosh added nine points and pulled down eight rebounds. Keyshawn Evans had nine points and Paris Lee chipped in eight with seven assists.
The Redbirds had nine blocks, one short of the school record.
Illinois State (9-4, 1-0) hit 23 of 61 field goal attempts (37.7 percent) while limiting the Purple Aces to just 14-of-54 shooting (25.9 percent).
The Redbirds, who have won five of their last six, never trailed and took a 35-25 lead into the break. They opened the second half with a 15-9 run.
Evansville (9-5, 0-1) had won seven straight before running into the Redbirds.
Jaylon Brown and Ryan Taylor led Evansville with 17 and 11 points, respectively.