TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State’s 83-66 loss to Saint Louis on Wednesday at Chaifetz Arena was many things.
It was a study in how the Billikens play suffocatiing defense. Despite shooting 48 percent, ISU had trouble gaining traction against SLU’s physical stopping power all night.
It was frustrating. ISU was whistled for 29 fouls, including 21 in the second half. SLU marched to the line seemingly at will. The second half was called far tighter by the officials than the first half where contact was widely tolerated which made it hard to know exactly how to play defense.
It was strange. ISU, the top 3-point shooting team in the nation entering the game, shot 3 of 11 from long range (and fell to third nationally). SLU, shooting 30 percent from 3-point range, drained 6 of 10 in the second half.
It was many things, but most of all, it was a missed opportunity for the Sycamores.
ISU coach Greg Lansing saw the game as a test of ISU’s toughness against a prototypical Jim Crews-coached team that wears that attribute on its sleeve.
“[SLU] is the type of team you want to be. You want to be difficult to play against. You can go in our locker room right now and ask if Saint Louis was difficult to play against and their answer would be a resounding ‘yes’. If you asked their team? I think they’d say they’ve played teams that were tougher,” Lansing said.
“We said all along it was two good teams and the outcome would be on who was the tougher team. They gave us a lesson tonight. It’s what we needed, really,” he added.
Few Sycamores had solid games. Manny Arop led the Sycamores with 16 points and was an offensive force at times, but also, a defensive liability. Justin Gant and Khristian Smith had 12 points.
Guard play, normally one of ISU’s strengths, let the Sycamores down. Jake Odum had nine points and six assists, but also had seven turnovers. Dawon Cummings scored four points and had poor shot selection.
“We overdribbled and you can’t overdribble against a team that well-schooled defensively,” Lansing said. “You have to pass it around and trust your teammates to get the ball moving. We’ve done that this year, but this was, by far, the best defensive team we’ve played this year, so we didn’t handle it well.”
ISU lamented other problems. SLU outrebounded ISU 34-22, which led to 15 second-chance points. Timing was everything and several of SLU’s second-chance buckets broke ISU momentum.
“We gave those up at key moments of the game. You can’t allow that to happen,” Arop said. “It’s a humbling game. We’ve been trying to make defense a point of emphasis and we’ve struggled to keep teams at a low percentage. They were making a lot of shots today. Our defense and toughness got tested and we didn’t rise up to the challenge like I hoped we would.”
Then there were the fouls. At one point in the final 10 minutes, SLU scored at the line on 10 of 14 possessions. In all SLU was 21 of 26 at the line after the break. Dwayne Jones, SLU’s leading scorer, went to the line 20 times alone. He made 16 and led all scorers with 24 points.
ISU took the high road after the game and wouldn’t say the fouls hampered their effort. But it was hard to know exactly how to play defense after the first half was called loose and the second was called air-tight.
“There was a huge difference in the second half, but that’s how it is on the road a lot,” said Lansing, who deflected blame on himself. “I caught myself complaining to the officials way too much and I think that has an effect on our guys. We had some negative body motion when we didn’t think we were getting calls, but you can’t control that. We have to control what we can control.”
ISU’s pattern of matching good spurts with bad spurts came to the fore. Until late in the contest, ISU repeatedly fought back when behind, but could never square the circle on maintaining its momentum. The 40-minute effort the Sycamores seek continues to be elusive.
“We had spurts of aggressiveness, but we need to have longer spurts and stay aggressive the whole game,” Gant said.
For Lansing, it came back to that trait again ... toughness.
“We got taught a lesson. I think we needed it. Our pride’s hurt, our ego’s hurt a little bit. We’re a good team, but we got beat by a really good team that’s tougher than heck,” Lansing said.
The loss to SLU won’t damage ISU’s postseason resume too much, in fact, just playing the Billikens likely raises ISU’s RPI.
The Sycamores play IUPUI at home on Saturday -- its first game at Hulman Center in nearly a month -- and follow it with a rematch against a solid Belmont team on Dec. 28. The Sycamores lost to the Bruins 96-95 on Nov. 14 in a highly-entertaing -- and frustrating -- contest.
Billikens slow down ISU's high-powered offense
TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State’s 83-66 loss to Saint Louis on Wednesday at Chaifetz Arena was many things.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman
Over the years, defeating its crosstown rival has not usually been easy for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or Rose-Hulman when they’ve met in college softball.
But on Wednesday afternoon at The Woods, the home team made its doubleheader sweep look easy to first-year coach Mark Feller with five-inning decisions of 10-0 and 11-1.
Terre Haute North grad O'Leary to transfer from Loyola
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The former Terre Haute North standout told the Tribune-Star he doesn’t yet know his next move.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2
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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.
- More College Headlines
- Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman