TERRE HAUTE —
Coaches and players on Indiana State’s men’s basketball team will be the first ones to admit that they’re capable of playing better.
But when the Sycamores are good, as they were in Saturday’s 76-62 victory over Illinois State at Hulman Center, they can be very good.
The veteran Sycamores controlled a young Illinois State team for the majority of the contest. It was the 14th victory in 16 games for the Sycamores — the two losses were to top 25 teams on the road.
ISU (16-4, 7-1) remained within striking distance of first-place Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference race.
“We’re getting closer to playing a full 40-minute game. We probably had 35 quality minutes tonight. It’s a good team win. Everyone contributed,” said ISU point guard Jake Odum, who had 10 points and five assists.
The Sycamores haven’t won style points in all of their victories — ISU struggled in its 65-61 victory at Loyola last Wednesday — but the wins keep coming regardless. When pin-pointing ISU’s faults in certain games, it can be easy to lose sight of that.
“It’s pretty nice to know you’re not playing your best basketball and you’re 16-4 and 7-1. But there’s a long way to go,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
Good shooting undeniably helped ISU’s cause. After going five games without shooting better than 33.3 percent from 3-point range, the Sycamores exploded and hit 11 of 21 (52.4 percent) against Illinois State. ISU converted 9 of its first 13 attempts from long-range.
The shots broke Illinois State’s 2-3 zone. ISU has struggled against zones at times this season, but for the most part, its attack was crisp against the Redbirds.
“[Assistant] Coach [Marcus] Belcher did a good job of showing where the openings were in the zone,” Odum said. “We sat down, waited for the reversal to get there and swung it into the middle. Once you get the ball into the middle of the zone then you can go anywhere with it. We did a good job compared to what we normally do against 2-3 zones,
Five different Sycamores made 3-pointers. Illinois State coach Dan Muller noted that when there’s so many Sycamores to worry about from beyond the arc, it stresses a zone to its breaking point.
“It’s really hard when they go 11 of 21 from three. They’re going to beat a lot of teams. Some of them were too open, and that’s because of us, but some of them weren’t,” Illinois State coach Dan Muller said.
Not coincidentally, shooters Dawon Cummings and Manny Arop co-led ISU with 14 points. Arop added a team-high eight rebounds.
ISU also played solid on the defensive end. Aside from an 18-9 first-half run, the Redbirds struggled. After converting just 1 of 25 from 3-point range in a loss to Wichita State last Wednesday, Illinois State stayed cold as it made 4 of 19 against the Sycamores.
Leading scorer Daishon Knight (13.1 ppg) was never a factor. He scored eight, but most of the points came late in the contest. Bobby Hunter led Illinois State with 13 points.
ISU started well and had an early 18-9 lead. Illinois State — a team that has started games well this season — scored on just four of its first 14 possessions.
“That’s the first time we haven’t been ready to start the game in a while,” Muller said. “We weren’t ready to compete with this team today. [Indiana State] is really good. They’re well-coached and they’re really old and talented with all of those seniors and juniors.”
The Redbirds (11-9, 4-4) got back in it during a brief period of stagnation for ISU’s offense agains the Illinois State zone by getting it inside. Illinois State fought back to tie the game at 27 with 3:47 left in the first half. All but five of the points scored in the 18-9 run were scored or created in the paint.
The Redbirds got away from that just as the Sycamores began to get their 3-point mojo flowing. ISU ended the first half on a 13-2 run to take a 40-29 halftime lead. Included in the surge were three 3-pointers.
“It was good to see some guys knock them down tonight. We have a lot of guys who can make them,” Lansing said.
The 3-point barrage continued to start the second half. ISU converted four more in the first four minutes of the second half as the lead ballooned to 54-34. It was ISU’s biggest lead of the game, but the Redbirds never threatened the rest of the way. ISU outscored Illinois State 49-35 from the time the game was tied in the first half.
The only blemish of the second half was an awkward fall by Devonte Brown on an attempted blocked shot in the lane. Brown fell violently on his hip, but Lansing said after the game he was OK and that there was no fear of a serious injury.
It was ISU’s seventh consecutive win over Illinois State at Hulman Center.
ISU is on the road for two games this week. The Sycamores start at Southern Illinois on Wednesday and conclude the two-game swing at Northern Iowa next Saturday.
VIDEO: Manny Arop, Jake Odum and Khristian Smith discuss ISU's 14th win in 16 tries
TERRE HAUTE —
Coaches and players on Indiana State’s men’s basketball team will be the first ones to admit that they’re capable of playing better.
Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond
The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.
ISU baseball holds off Eastern Illinois for 24th win
Indiana State freshman left-hander Ryan Keaffaber won his first game as a Sycamore and senior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 as ISU defeated host Eastern Illinois 6-4 in college baseball Tuesday.
Top returners lead Cream over Crimson in Hoosiers' spring game
The Cream team at Saturday’s Cream and Crimson intrasquad game had Indiana’s top returning rusher and receiver and the Hoosiers’ top-rated passer from last season.
No surprise, then, that Tevin Coleman, Shane Wynn and Tre Roberson guided the Cream to a resounding 24-14 win over the Crimson.
Rose-Hulman baseball gets wild doubleheader sweep
Host Rose-Hulman came back from an early six-run deficit in the first game Saturday and went on to a 13-12, 7-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball sweep over Mount St. Joseph.
The wild opener featured a Rose-Hulman comeback from an 8-2 deficit and included 18 hits and two school records for the Engineers.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball earns doubleheader sweep at Missouri State
Yvette Alvarez’s one-hit shutout capped a dominant day of pitching Saturday as Indiana State swept a Missouri Valley Conference softball doubleheader at Missouri State by scores of 6-1 and 4-0.
“We pitched well,” coach Shane Bouman said. “Both Taylor Lockwood in the first game and Yvette Alvarez in the second game threw great. When you pitch good and you play good defense and get some key hits, good things are going to happen.
ISU football set for first spring scrimmage
Thanks to a limited number of available offensive linemen — a group that will at least double in numbers in the fall with the addition of recruits and currently injured players — the Sycamores won’t have a full-scale scrimmage, but will still intersperse scrimmage plays (with officials) among other practice drills.
“We’re thin,” coach Mike Sanford admitted after practice Thursday. “The scrimmage will be part of practice — probably 30 or 40 plays altogether. We only have five to seven healthy offensive linemen, so we can’t go [in a scrimmage format] for long stretches of time.”
METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis
Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.
ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2
The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2
ISU baseball sweeps doubleheader against Wichita State
Indiana State baseball coach Mitch Hannahs finally got what he’s been looking for from the Sycamores’ Friday and Saturday starters ... and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Wichita State is in town for a crucial series. With ISU 2-4 in the league, it was vital for the Sycamores to validate their better-than-expected form in nonconference play with MVC success in Saturday’s doubleheader at Bob Warn Field.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's nine-game winnings streak snapped
Rose-Hulman had its nine-game winning streak snapped with two tightly contested losses at defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Manchester on Saturday.
Sycamores get commitment from junior-college point guard
Following Indiana State’s loss to Marquette in the WNIT, coach Teri Moren touched on the future of the program after the loss of Sycamore senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.
Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015
Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Indiana State secondary could be mending into a strength
During Indiana State’s injury-ravaged 2013 season, there wasn’t a unit on either side of the ball that was spared from the carnage.
But if one had to be singled out as hardest hit in the injury department, it would be difficult to out-do the Sycamores’ secondary.
Every player that started in ISU’s season opener at Indiana not only missed at least one game last season, but the entire starting unit was out of action by the end of September.
Reed named Midseason National Player of the Year
Half of the college baseball season is done and one prominent college baseball publication thinks Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed is best player in the land.
Reed, a junior at Kentucky, was named the Midseason National Player of the Year by Perfect Game USA, a website devoted to college baseball.
Laramie to transfer from ISU women's basketball program
Indiana State forward Marina Laramie averaged 9.9 points and started all 32 games as a sophomore for the Sycamores.
But the 6-foot-2 women’s basketball player will continue her career elsewhere.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Chicago guard commits to ISU women's basketball
The Indiana State women’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from Chicago guard Kiera Brooks on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-7 junior for North Lawndale College Prep visited ISU’s campus for the first time, met the team and chose her college home. Brooks averaged 18.7 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for coach Corey Morgan’s 15-11 squad.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball tops IU 7-5
The Indiana State softball team remained a perfect 13-0 when scoring in the first inning as it defeated Indiana (9-24-1) 7-5 Tuesday for its second consecutive victory over a Big Ten opponent.
Dedicated to helping others
It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.
Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
ISU baseball shows mental toughness in win over Illinois State
When the pressure’s on, there’s nothing a coach likes more than to see his team double down on their approach and grit out a positive result.
Going the distance: Redbirds ace Savas allows just five hits while shutting down Sycamores
Indiana State’s pitchers weren’t their best in Friday’s series opener against Illinois State, but it seemed the Sycamores might get away with it. Through seven innings, ISU had issued six walks, gave up six hits and hit a batter, but still trailed by just a run. But ISU’s luck with its generosity would give out in the eighth, and even if it hadn’t, Illinois State standout starter Dan Savas had the Sycamores’ bats in a deep freeze anyway. The Redbirds defeated the Sycamores 5-2 at Bob Warn Field.
Woods softball team wins 4th straight
The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball team swept Grace College with a pair of wins in its home opener Wednesday.
Devoted brothers: Mahurins relish chance to team up and win NAIA title
It wasn’t a great year for NCAA basketball in the Hoosier state outside of Indiana State’s 23-victory season.
But a team in NAIA Division II with eight Indiana natives — and coached by former Valparaiso point guard Greg Tonagel, an Indiana All-Star for his hometown of LaPorte — brought home a national basketball championship.
Tonagel, the scrappy point guard who played alongside Bryce Drew for that magical Valpo team, created more March hoops memories with the help of Rockville brothers R.J. and Lane Mahurin.
‘A full night’: Leadoff hitter Curry leads 16-hit attack as Sycamores pound Hoosiers
Lead-off man Landon Curry had four of Indiana State’s 16 hits Wednesday afternoon, and cleanup hitter Mike Fitzgerald reached for the 17th straight game to lead the Sycamores to a 12-8 victory.
Fresh start: ISU football team springs into action for coach Sanford’s second season
Many things change from year one to year two in someone’s coaching regime, but when it comes to football, few things change more dramatically in that span than spring football practice.
Etherington, Hollowell leaving IU
Two players are leaving Indiana University’s basketball program while a third is reportedly planning to leave early for the NBA. IU confirmed Monday afternoon that redshirt sophomore Austin Etherington and sophomore Jeremy Hollowell will transfer.
Metro sports: Rose's Stull, Schultheis earn HCAC honors
Rose-Hulman took two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors this week, with Andrew Stull and Austin Schultheis recognized for their work over the weekend.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: ISU never kicked down the door in 2014
After Indiana State’s 91-71 loss Tuesday at Arkansas in the National Invitation Tournament, and in the days since, I can’t help but think of Bum Phillips and the 1980 Houston Oilers as I ponder Indiana State's 2013-14 men's basketball season.
Stay with me.
The Oilers had lost to the all-conquering Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1978 and 1979 AFC Championship games. Despite that, it seemed the Earl Campbell-led squad was the team of destiny to knock the Steel Curtain off their perch.
So much so that Phillips, the wonderfully colorful Oilers coach, said the Oilers would "kick the door down", knock off their black-and-gold nemesis, and win the AFC Central in 1980.
- More College Headlines
- Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond