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January 30, 2014

Another Carbondale nightmare for ISU

VIDEO: Greg Lansing discusses Sycamores' 79-60 loss at SIU

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Like a fairytale nightmare, Indiana State's men's basketball team got lulled to sleep on Wednesday at Southern Illinois.

They never woke from their bad dream.

The nightmare of Carbondale and SIU continued for the Sycamores, but their 79-60 loss to last-place SIU had little to do with bad luck and everything to do with ISU's poorest performance of the season.

"We weren't focused from jump. I really don't know what it is. I'm kind of frustrated right now. It's hard to put into words the feeling right now," ISU guard Dawon Cummings said.

ISU has won just seven times in 46 tries at SIU Arena and dropped the Sycamores two games behind first-place Wichita State. The loss will also likely put a stop to the NCAA Tournament attention ISU had begun to generate of late.

"I'm disappointed in us because you never let someone want it more than you, especially with some of the things we thought we had at stake," ISU coach Greg Lansing said.

But those big pictures concerns are secondary to a performance that was so poor for ISU as to be baffling. The defeat was emphatic and ISU sunk into a funk of its own making and didn't put forth the effort to get out of it.

"We talked in the locker room [after the game] about our sense of urgency. Us five starters, we haven't come out well. We came out flat and that's what hurt us. We gave up too many offensive rebounds, we had too many turnovers and you can't do that in a low possession game," ISU point guard Jake Odum said.

Even more disturbing is the fact that ISU started five upperclassmen, including three seniors. By contrast, SIU started four underclassmen.

"We allowed a team that's starting three freshmen -- and we're starting three, basically four, seniors -- dictate the game right at the start. We turned it over, we were too quick on offense and they dominated the offensive glass," Lansing said.

The statistics tell the tale. ISU was outrebounded 42-29, including eight first-half offensive rebounds. ISU was 11 of 22 at the line and 7 of 24 from 3-point range.

ISU could muster no consistent offense to speak of. Justin Gant led ISU with 14 points and Manny Arop added 12, but the tap was dry besides. ISU didn't break the 40-point mark until there was 5:20 left in the game.

SIU coach Barry Hinson had the Salukis play offense at a glacial pace. ISU defended well against it early, but the time ISU spent defending, hampered by SIU's dominance on the offensive boards, took a toll on the Sycamores.

ISU had limited possessions, and when it had them, it wasted them.

"Our deal was that they can't score if we've got the ball," Hinson said.

Lansing acknowledged that long defensive spells for SIU had a negative effect on the Sycamores and spilled over to the offensive end.

"We knew they'd slow it down. You have to have some patience on the defensive end and know when that shot goes up, you'd better block out and go get it or you'll be guarding for 30 seconds again. It can't happen," Lansing said.

A bad first-half for ISU set the tone.

ISU shot 1 of 5 from the free throw line and had nine turnovers, but worst of all was the Salukis' dominance on the boards. SIU out-rebounded the Sycamores 20-11 in the opening half, including eight offensive rebounds.

"We had a lot of good defensive possessions doing exactly what we wanted to do. But when that ball goes up? We've got five guys gravitating to the basket being ball-watchers," Lansing said.

SIU's dominance on the offensive boards had ISU shell-shocked.

"At the first media timeout, coach [Lansing] told us that we're defending well, but a defensive possession doesn't end until we get a defensive rebound. We didn't finish our possessions," Arop said.

For a while, ISU's defense kept the Sycamores in it as both teams struggled to score in a  first 10 minutes where offense was a rumor. At 7:55, SIU led 14-13, and while there was major cause for concern on ISU's part, there was no reason to panic.

But when SIU increasingly found the going to the basket easier, the Sycamores unraveled. The offense never materialized and SIU's 9-3 run over the final 7:55 of the half gave the Salukis a 25-16 halftime lead. ISU's previous low-scoring half this season was 22.

The Salukis did this without leading scorer Desmar Jackson on the floor for most of the half with foul trouble.

It didn't get any better in the second half. SIU's lead was 34-16 after it opened the second half on a 9-0 run. The Salukis' lead peaked 21 and the Sycamores never mustered a serious threat.

Anthony Beane Jr. led SIU (7-15, 3-6) with 22 points. Bola Olaniyan (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Sean O'Brien (11 points, 12 rebounds) each had double-doubles for SIU.

ISU (16-5, 7-2) next plays at Northern Iowa on Saturday.

INDIANA STATE (60) -- Arop 4-10 2-3 12, Gant 6-8 0-2 14, Kitchell 1-1 0-0 2, Cummings 1-10 1-2 4, Odum 3-10 5-7 11, Eitel 3-4 0-0 8, Brown 0-2 0-0 0, Moore 1-1 0-0 2, Burnett 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 1-5 3-8 5. 21-53 FG, 11-22 FT, 60 TP.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (79) -- Olaniyan 5-7 2-4 12, O'Brien 5-9 1-4 11, Jackson 5-10 6-8 16, Smithpeters 2-4 2-2 7, Beane 6-11 9-10 22, Pendleton 1-4 1-2 3, Drinkard 0-3 2-4 2, B. Verhines 0-0 2-2 2, D. Verhines 2-2 0-2 4. 26-50 FG, 25-38 FT, 79 TP.

Halftime -- SIU 25-16. 3-point goals -- ISU 7-24 (Arop 2-6, Gant 2-3, Eitel 2-3, Cummings 1-7, Odum 0-2, Brown 0-1, Burnett 0-1, Smith 0-1); SIU 2-12 (Beane 1-5, Smithpeters 1-3, O'Brien 0-3, Pendleton 0-1). Rebounds -- ISU 29 (Odum 7, Arop 5, Gant 4, Smith 4, Moore 2, Burnett 2, Team 2, Kitchell, Eitel, Brown); SIU 42 (Olaniyan 12, O'Brien 12, Jackson 5, Beane 4, Smithpeters 3, Drinkard 3, Team 2, D. Verhines). Assists -- ISU 12 (Cummings 4, Odum 3, Smith 2, Arop, Gant, Brown); SIU 13 (Olaniyan 4, Jackson 4, D. Verhines 2, Beane, Pendleton, Drinkard). Steals -- ISU 4 (Cummings 2, Gant, Eitel); SIU 9 (Olaniyan 3, Jackson 2, O'Brien, Smithpeters, Pendleton, Drinkard). Blocks -- ISU 2 (Arop, Gant); SIU 2 (Smithpeters, Drinkard). Turnovers -- ISU 14 (Arop 4, Gant 3, Cummings 2, Odum, Eitel, Brown, Moore, Smith); SIU 13 (Beane 4, Drinkard 3, O'Brien 2, Jackson 2, Team 2). Total fouls -- ISU 27, SIU 21. A -- 4,821.

Next -- ISU (16-5, 7-2) plays at Northern Iowa and SIU (7-15, 3-6) plays host to Loyola on Saturday.

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