TERRE HAUTE —
After three consecutive lackluster halves, Indiana State’s men’s basketball team was at a crossroads.
Down four to Missouri State at halftime on its home floor, the Sycamores could either summon the intensity they had to start the Missouri Valley Conference season and solidify their spot in the league’s top half.
Or they could fade away and find themselves mired in a mid-conference dogfight.
The Sycamores chose the former and breathed easier after a 68-60 victory in front of 5,593 in Hulman Center on Wednesday.
ISU shot 61.9 percent and had just three turnovers in the second half. The much-improved effort and intensity helped ISU outscore Missouri State 41-29 after the break.
“We came out flat. We played three halves in a row where we didn’t play our brand of basketball. We realized in the second half that we don’t get games back,” ISU point guard Jake Odum said.
“Coming in, we wanted to impose our will on the offensive and defensive end and we did a much better job in the second half.”
ISU’s defense also played its part. The Sycamores were able to score at critical times off Missouri State mistakes. The Bears had 12 turnovers, but ISU also altered other Missouri State possessions with more deflections and better intensity in the second half. The Bears shot 15 percentage points worse in the second half than they did in the first.
“We felt, even going back last week to Bradley, that we haven’t had pressure on the ball. We got some deflections, we got turnovers and we got out in transition a little bit. We were just playing better,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
ISU (11-6, 4-2) also had enviable balance. Down the roster sheet, ISU’s individual scoring was 10,10,10,10, 8, 7, 6, 4 and 3. Indiana State’s rebounding? It went 4, 4, 4, 3, 3 and 3.
Manny Arop, Justin Gant, Devonte Brown and Dawon Cummings each had 10 points. Arop, Brown and Cummings each had four rebounds.
The Sycamores chased their tails in the first half as they trailed for its entirety. Missouri State started swingman Gavin Thurman for just the second time this season and the freshman scored the first nine points of the game for the Bears.
ISU closed the gap to 17-16, but Missouri State’s 10-2 run gave the Bears a nine-point lead. ISU closed the gap to 31-27 by halftime, but the Sycamores were hurt by the inability to consistently defend during the Bears’ long offensive possessions. Missouri State shot 56 percent in the first half.
ISU attacked the basket with more zest in the second half. ISU tied it less than two minutes into the contest with all of the scoring opportunities either coming via penetration or from inside-out passes.
ISU took the lead for good on a Cummings 3-pointer with 16:26 left. A 19-6 start to the second half was capped by a stretch where Arop scored seven ISU points in succession. ISU led 46-37.
“I think it was a difference of pace. They imposed their will with a low-paced game [in the first half]. In the second half, Dawon started and it helped speed the game up. I think that’s what got us the win,” Brown said.
Missouri State (5-13, 3-3) was held at arm’s length the rest of the way, but the Sycamores couldn’t pull away from the Bears either, a familiar pattern for the Sycamores this season. ISU’s biggest lead — a 60-46 advantage — came with 3:38 left and it seemed ISU had put a stake in Missouri State’s heart.
But finishing teams hasn’t been ISU’s strong point. ISU struggled again at the line — the Sycamores converted 7 of 13 in the final two minutes, a statistic that would have hurt ISU more had Missouri State not shot 1 of 4 at the line in the same stretch.
Still, Missouri State had a smidgen of hope when Nathan Scheer buried a long 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to make it 66-60.
After ISU’s Lucas Eitel missed a pair at the line, Scheer missed another long 3 and Cummings drained a pair of free throws with 10.6 seconds left to put the game away.
The difficulty in finishing another team off was a sore spot in an otherwise bright second-half effort.
“It’s frustrating. I don’t know if we let up or if the other team steps up more, but good teams put teams away and we haven’t been able to do a good job of that. It starts with me, I have to hit free throws and others do too,” Odum said.
Lansing has taken notice of the late-game struggles too.
“We’ve done it in nearly all of the games we’ve won. We could probably put teams away a bit better with possession basketball, making free throws and by not putting them at the free-throw line. We have to get better down the stretch,” Lansing said.
ISU next plays host to Evansville on Saturday. The Purple Aces fell into a third-place tie with the Sycamores as they lost 83-69 at Drake on Wednesday.
TERRE HAUTE —
After three consecutive lackluster halves, Indiana State’s men’s basketball team was at a crossroads.
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.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Indiana State women move within one win from MVC title
Senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir had 23 points to lead Indiana State to a 73-71 win at Drake on Thursday. The point guard led four Sycamores in double figures in the win.
Anna Munn, Jasmine Grier and Chelsea Small each chipped in 11 points as ISU shot 10-of-21 from 3-point range as a team.
Sycamores rejuvenated heading into MVC Tournament quarterfinals
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum is sick-and-tired of being sick and tired.
He’s tired of hearing about the team’s three-game losing streak. He’s tired of the Sycamores playing below par. He’s tired of the team not fulfilling its potential.
He plans to do something about it this weekend. Second-seeded ISU begins its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trek at 7:05 p.m. tonight against either No. 10 Loyola.
Rose-Hulman seniors lead Engineers into NCAA Division III Tournament
For Rose-Hulman’s six senior men’s basketball players, this weekend will mark the beginning of their third and final appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Having left Terre Haute by bus Thursday, Rose (22-5) will open the Division III four-team regional at Hope College in Holland, Mich., today against Wheaton College (19-8) at the unique time of 5:30 p.m.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers are coming off Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) regular-season and tournament championships for the second consecutive year.
ISU women seek top MVC seed
Defense and rebounding are the staples of Teri Moren’s fourth Indiana State team, a squad that hits the road trying to defend and rebound its way to a regular-season conference title. The Sycamores women’s basketball can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins tonight against Drake and Saturday against Northern Iowa.
Nebraska completes sweep of Indiana
Indiana’s slim hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid are all but done, unless the Hoosiers can win the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska never trailed Wednesday night, completing a season sweep of the Hoosiers with a 70-60 win. The loss ensures a losing conference record for IU (17-13, 7-10 Big Ten) while boosting the Huskers’ chances at an at-large berth.
ISU reserve Smith earns two MVC honors
Indiana State sophomore Khristian Smith has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench and Most Improved Teams, according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday.
Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
A Vigo County’s Sheriff’s case report of Brenton Scott’s arrest last Saturday indicated that Scott, an Indiana State basketball player, tried to pass himself off as his twin brother and that two of his teammates were with him at the time of the incident.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
Indiana State men's basketball player Brenton Scott was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Saturday for operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana/hash, possession of paraphenalia and false reporting/informing.
Odum can't get roll on game-winning attempt on Senior Day
The storybook was ready to be opened at Hulman Center on Saturday.
Down two with 4.5 seconds to go, Indiana State rebounded a free throw miss by Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. ISU senior point guard Odum timed his dash perfectly up the floor. He released his shot from just behind the 3-point line at just the right second. The shot was true and online.
TODD GOLDEN: Lansing's belief in his team has not wavered
In the wake of Indiana State’s 71-69 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, and the three-game losing streak that comes with it, ISU coach Greg Lansing wanted to get one point across crystal clear in his postgame press conference.
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