OMAHA, NEB. —
Close but no cigar.
That was how Indiana State’s 79-66 loss to No. 16 Creighton felt on Saturday at the CenturyLink Center.
The game was closer than that most of the way. There were times when the Sycamores had the Bluejays — and their 17,694 fans — concerned that the style of play ISU has used to become one of the Missouri Valley Conference’s surprise teams would produce yet another impressive victory.
It wasn’t to be. Creighton was too good and the Bluejays forced their will on the game in the final 10 minutes and pulled away.
That bugged the Sycamores to no end. Though ISU is just now entering the MVC’s spotlight, the Sycamores themselves have felt comfortable in it since the Hawaii trip.
Another moral victory? The Sycamores don’t want any part of it.
“We’ve had enough moral victories this year where we haven’t pulled it off. We’re getting tired of that. We don’t want that anymore. We know we’re a good team that can play with the elite teams in the country. To play the way we did in the last 10 minutes? It's kind of upsetting,” ISU point guard Jake Odum said.
“I’m happy with the effort we’re giving, but their heads are hanging. We had an opportunity to beat one of the best teams in the country in a wonderful environment. We just didn’t get it done,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
It’s a sign of progress that the Sycamores aren’t willing to see the silver lining in a hard-fought loss.
Declaring their disdain for no moral victories is kind of a moral victory in itself, if a moral victory can be defined as progress over results. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that 7/12ths of ISU’s available roster is just 14 games into their ISU careers. Little was expected of this team, much less the idea that a win at Creighton was not only feasible, but expected by the Sycamores.
It’s left to people like me to see what ISU doesn’t want — and shouldn’t want — to acknowledge.
ISU played the projected top three teams in the conference in the span of six days, with two of the games on the road. This came on the heels of a hellish multi-day trip home from Hawaii that could have scuttled ISU’s progress before it began.
To come out of what Lansing called “the gauntlet” with a 2-1 record is a success, whether ISU wants to view it that way or not.
Going into it, a 2-1 record was the best-case scenario in my mind for the “gauntlet”. To come out of it with a 3-0 mark would’ve been outstanding, but it also would’ve been gravy. ISU is well-positioned to stay among the MVC’s contenders for the remainder of the season if it keeps playing at a high level.
What’s impressed me about ISU’s start is that it has so much room to grow. Several of ISU’s young players have shown flashes of what they can do — some have even struggled — but the team has been playing well anyway. If every Sycamore continues to move in the right direction and come closer to fulfilling their potential, look out MVC.
“Indiana State’s good, in case anyone’s wondering. They’re a disciplined basketball team. I understand now why they came close to winning three games in Hawaii and started 2-0 [in the MVC]. They did a good job of controlling the tempo, especially in the first half,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said after the game.
“They’re going to win a lot of games and be in games because they control tempo well. They fight you defensively. They hit some shots too,” McDermott continued.
It’s good that ISU isn’t satisfied with my big picture standard. In fact, it’s great.
The Sycamores have developed an appetite for success. Having a snack for 30 minutes against the talented Bluejays isn’t good enough to sate them anymore.
“It’s definitely frustrating. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game, but we let it slip away. It’s a good thing [to be competitive against elite teams], but it kind of sucks to keep talking about moral victories,” ISU center Justin Gant said.
Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or email@example.com. Please follow him on Twitter @TribStarTodd.
OMAHA, NEB. —
Close but no cigar.
ISU falls one step short at MVC women's semis
ISU's women's basketball team falls 66-58 to Drake in MVC women's tournament semifinals.
ISU’s Family Arena struggles continue
Indiana State’s women’s basketball postseason struggles continued Saturday in The Family Arena, site of the seventh neutral-site version of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
- Three All-Americans for ISU track at NCAA indoors
Rose’s Stull pitches well in losing cause
Andrew Stull made a strong bid to stay in the Rose-Hulman baseball starting pitching rotation Friday evening, but his lack of support — offensively and defensively — still added up to a 7-0 loss as the Engineers opened the Rose-Hulman Invitational against Concordia Chicago.
Metro Sports: ISU baseball’s winning streak halted at 12
The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks scored on a walk-off single in the ninth inning to end Indiana State’s 12-game winning streak in baseball with a 3-2 victory Friday at Brooks Field.
ISU trio reach NCAA track finals
Indiana State’s Greggmar Swift and Katie Wise both advanced to today’s finals in their respective events on the first day of the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships hosted by the University of New Mexico.
VIDEO: ISU defeats Loyola in MVC women's tournament
Marina Laramie led the Sycamores with nine of her 15 points in the second half. The sophomore from nearby O’Fallon, Mo., had six of those points during a 9-2 ISU run after halftime.
VIDEO: Mahan's 17 rebounds among five best totals in league tournament history
The toughness — both mental and physical — of Marina Laramie and Racheal Mahan — is a big reason the Indiana State women’s basketball team won five games in a row to close the regular season.
The resolve of the Sycamore post duo was put to the test Friday in the MVC Tournament quarterfinals, and Laramie and Mahan were up to the task.
ISU men await postseason fate
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team returned to practice on Friday without a team or a tournament to prepare for.
Abrams leads Illini over IU in Big Ten tournament
Now, Indiana waits.
To see if the NIT wants the Hoosiers for an at-large berth.
To see if Noah Vonleh will head to the NBA after one season in Bloomington.
No. 24 Ohio State holds off Purdue 63-61
Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter appreciated his team’s effort Thursday.
He still didn’t like the numbers on the box score — or the scoreboard.
Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross combined to score nine points in a late 12-4 run that gave No. 24 Ohio State control and the Buckeyes held on for a 63-61 win — only after Terone Johnson’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer came up short in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
ISU’s Abdul-Qaadir, Munn All-MVC selections
Senior guards Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Anna Munn have both been named to Missouri Valley Conference All-Conference teams, announced by the league on Wednesday. Abdul-Qaadir earned a spot on the first-team while Munn was named honorable mention.
History in making?: Indiana, Purdue need to reverse recent trends to keep offseason hopes alive
The state’s two Big Ten schools could begin the offseason as soon as tonight, depending on how they fare in the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
Metro sports: ‘Lucky Lou’ strikes again on golf course
Retired Public Service Indiana employee Lou Mundell, a lifelong resident of Terre Haute, posted the fifth hole-in-one of his life Tuesday afternoon at the Harder Hall Country Club golf course in his winter home of Sebring.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball splits pair in Florida
Pitching dominated Tuesday’s opening day of play in the Rebel Spring Games for the Indiana State softball team, which defeated Bucknell 2-0 before falling 2-0 to Creighton.
“The girls did a great job in the first game getting a couple runs,” ISU coach Shane Bouman said. “We leaned on [sophomore] Yvette Alvarez who pitched really well. We probably got as much as we could out of her and probably should have changed earlier so put that on me. We have a couple little things we can clean up and get a little better and we will be ready to go tomorrow.”
Oh snap: Reed's 18-game hitting streak falls in No. 20 UK's loss at No. 16 IU
No. 16 Indiana mounted two-run rallies in the first and fourth innings and the Hoosiers ended the hitting streak of Terre Haute native A.J. Reed at 18 games to post a 7-2 win over No. 20 Kentucky on Tuesday.
Despite going hitless, Reed remains the NCAA leader in home runs (8) and RBI (28) for a potent Wildcats’ offense.
Kentucky (13-4) dropped its first game with the Hoosiers in the last four meetings, with the meeting marking the first time in modern UK history (2003-present) that the two teams faced off as top-20 foes.
Munn named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Indiana State leads the Missouri Valley with six of the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards after Anna Munn earned the recognition Tuesday for the 2013-14 season.
Munn joins Kourtney Mennen (2003), Melanie Boeglin (2006), Laura Rudolphi (2007) and Kelsey Luna (2009 and 2010) as winners of the award, which began in 2002.
ISU win streak at 12
Ryan Keaffaber recorded his sixth save in seven opportunities Monday as Indiana State won its 12th straight college baseball game, holding off a rally by visiting Western Illinois for a 7-4 victory on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Another Rose freshman making big splash
The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
Guts, sweat, tears: Sycamores fall to perfect Shockers
No one on Indiana State’s men’s basketball needed to say a word about the Sycamores’ 83-69 loss to Wichita State in Sunday’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game.
Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best
It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge
When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.
Clock problems delay start of Indiana State semifinal game
Time stood still in Scottrade Center on Saturday.
Not by design.
Sycamores advance to Arch Madness title game
No one said advancing to the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament championship game was going to be easy.
ISU women grab share of MVC regular-season title
The preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite lived up to its expectations, as the Indiana State women’s basketball team grabbed a piece of the regular-season title with an 85-72 triumph over host Northern Iowa on Saturday afternoon inside McLeod Center.
Robinson leads No. 12 Michigan over Indiana
Glenn Robinson scored 20 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:10 to play, and Jordan Morgan had a double-double in his final home game to help No. 12 Michigan finish off its Big Ten championship season with an 84-80 victory over Indiana on Saturday night.
Michigan (23-7 15-3) avenged last year’s defeat in the last game of the regular season. In that game, Morgan’s tap-in rolled off the rim as time expired, giving the Hoosiers the victory and costing the Wolverines a share of the conference title.
ISU headed to MVC title game
Indiana State defeated Southern Illinois 62-59 on Saturday to advance to Arch Madness championship game.
Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals
It sounds counter-intuitive, but to go forward in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament you must first get stops. In Friday’s MVC Tournament quarterfinal against Loyola, ISU followed that bit of zen to a tee. The Sycamores never let the Ramblers get comfortable offensively and put a hammer-lock on Loyola standout Milton Doyle. ISU rode its defense to an easy 75-62 victory at Scottrade Center.
ISU baseball looking to carry success home
Indiana State had pitching questions coming into the season, having lost its entire starting staff from a year ago.
So far anyway, those questions have been answered. The Sycamores are 9-1 going into their home opener today against Western Illinois.
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- ISU falls one step short at MVC women's semis