TERRE HAUTE —
A win is a win is a … whew!
Jordan Printy's 3-pointer with 15 seconds left put Indiana State in front and it held on for a 57-56 victory over scrappy Wisconsin-Green Bay as 4,761 at Hulman Center collectively wiped their brows in relief.
ISU's men head to the Old Spice Classic, which starts Thursday in Orlando, Fla., unbeaten at 4-0 … but only just. “I don't what it is. I see a team that's better everyday in practice. We're pressing a bit, we had 17 turnovers and that's not like us,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said. “It's a lot of different things, but, we're 4-0. We beat a good team tonight.”
Green Bay (2-3) pushed ISU to the limit and outplayed ISU over the final 10 minutes of the game.
ISU also needed a bit of good fortune to help its cause. Printy's 3-pointer was seemingly answered by an Alec Brown layup with 6.7 seconds left, but Green Bay coach Brian Wardle had called a timeout just before the pass to Brown was released and the bucket was waved off.
When play resumed, Brown's medium-range jumper was well-defended and clanked off the rim. Carl Richard rebounded with 1.7 seconds left and the Phoenix didn't get a realistic chance to answer back.
“Parts of it weren't pretty, we had to grind another one out, but the most important part is we're 4-0 and that's where we wanted to be going down to Florida. Green Bay played tough, it's a good win for us,” Printy said.
Wardle said he saw offensive confusion by his team and called the fateful timeout … just before the Sycamore defense sea parted and gave Green Bay a bucket that never was off of a lob.
“I called it and I would again in that situation. I wanted us to get it out and play and attack. We kicked it back, we weren't sure what we were doing,” Wardle explained. “Right after I called it [Brennan] Cougill lobbed it, Brown snatched it and layed it in. It's unfortunate, but we were a little tentative and didn't know what we were doing.”
ISU's victory masked problems. The Sycamores never established any offensive flow even when it wasn't turning the ball over. Printy led ISU with 12 points, nine of them scored in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Worse from Lansing's perspective was the inability for ISU to get loose balls and to let Green Bay impose its will at times on both ends.
“They got every loose ball, made a ton of hustle plays and attacked us on offense. Dribble-penetration hurt us all night and they hurt us defensively in the second half,” Lansing said.
Leading by two at halftime, it seemed ISU was destined to earn a grind-it-out victory as it pushed its lead to eight early in the half. But ISU could never get a bucket to maintain momentum – an 11-0 run spanning both halves was its only one of the game. Green Bay continually hit shots to keep itself close.
Finally, the Phoenix strung more than just one shot together and took the lead via a 9-0 run, capped by the second of two Steve Baker 3-pointers at 5:04 to put Green Bay up 54-50.
ISU trailed 56-54 with two minutes to go when its defense kicked into gear as it forced a pair of empty Green Bay possessions. After Cougill missed the front end of a one-and-one with 22 seconds left, Jake Odum pushed ISU down the floor and found Printy on the right side of key.
Despite having Keifer Sykes' hand in his face, Printy buried the 3-pointer and ISU resumed the advantage.
“I've seen J.P. shoot a thousand shots like that. It's a pitch-back where I screen his man and he knocked down the shot,” Odum said.
Turnovers and lack of offensive flow defined the first half for ISU. The Sycamores started well Four 3-pointers were made in the first six minutes, but ISU led just 14-11.
A stretch of seven turnovers in the span of the next six minutes kept the Sycamores from increasing its lead at a time when the Phoenix were struggling. ISU clung to its lead at the free throw line, but Green Bay pulled in front 32-29 at the 2:09 mark.
ISU finished the half with the last five points, with R.J. Mahurin making three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 1:17 left to give ISU a slim 34-32 halftime edge.
ISU plays Texas Tech to open the Old Spice Classic at noon on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
GREEN BAY (56) – Turner 2-4 0-0 5, Brown 3-11 0-0 7, Armstead 1-7 0-0 2, Baker 6-10 0-0 15, Sykes 0-3 1-2 1, Johnson 5-9 2-3 12, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Cerroni 0-0 0-0 0, Mays 1-2 2-2 4, Cougill 3-5 2-3 10, Heuer 0-2 0-0 0. 21-54 FG, 7-10 FT, 56 TP.
INDIANA STATE (57) – Richard 3-7 0-1 6, Walker 4-8 2-4 10, Odum 1-5 1-2 3, Printy 4-8 0-0 12, McWhorter 1-2 0-0 2, Kitchell 0-1 1-2 1, Eitel 0-0 0-1 0, Gant 1-2 2-2 4, Lathan 2-5 4-6 9, Mahurin 2-5 5-5 10. 18-43 FG, 15-23 FT, 57 TP.
Halftime score – ISU 34-32. 3-point goals – UWGB 7-21 (Baker 3-4, Cougill 2-3, Turner 1-3, Brown 1-2, Armstead 0-4, Johnson 0-2, Heuer 0-2, Sykes 0-1), ISU 6-15 (Printy 4-7, Mahurin 1-4, Lathan 1-2, Odum 0-2). Rebounds – UWGB 32* (Sykes 5, Team RB 5*, Brown 4, Johnson 4, Cougill 4, Armstead 3, Mays 3, Baker). ISU 34* (Lathan 7, Walker 6, Team RB 4* Richard 3, Odum 3, McWhorter 3, Gant 3, Eitel 2, Printy, Kitchell, Mahurin). Steals – UWGB 8 (Baker 3, Cougill 2, Brown, Armstead, Sykes), ISU 9 (Odum 3, Walker 3, Richard, Eitel, Mahurin). Blocks – UWGB 3 (Brown 2, Mays), ISU 4 (Walker 2, Gant 2). Turnovers – UWGB 15 (Cougill 3, Cerroni 3), ISU 17 (Richard 4, Walker 4, Lathan 3, Odum 2, Printy, Eitel, Gant, Mahurin). Total fouls – UWGB 19, ISU 12. Fouled out – Brown. A – 4,761.
Next – ISU (4-0) plays Texas Tech at Noon on Thursday at the Old Spice Classic. Green Bay (2-3) plays at Virginia on Friday.