ST. LOUIS —
Two years ago, Indiana State knocked Evansville out of the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament via a last-second shot.
On Friday? It was a last-second swat.
After Justin Gant made a free throw to put the Sycamores up one with two seconds left, Devonte Brown rejected a Ned Cox layup attempt at the buzzer Friday as ISU defeated Evansville 51-50 to advance to today’s semifinal round.
The Sycamores (18-13) will play No. 1-seeded Creighton at 2:35 p.m. EST today. The Bluejays pulled away from Drake to post a 65-53 victory in the opening quarterfinal game at Arch Madness.
It was a harrowing, but ultimately, uplifting finish for the Sycamores, who had lost five of six entering the contest.
It was ISU’s first victory over a MVC opponent since Feb. 9.
“We definitely needed this win. We knew it was going to be a fight. We knew we’d have to grind the whole time. It was punch-after-punch,” said ISU center Jake Kitchell.
In a game defined by its rough-and-tumble nature, ISU mined some unexpected diamonds.
The play of ISU’s bench shined brightest of all. ISU’s bench scored 30 of the Sycamores’ 51 points.
“[The bench] is the reason we won this game. They stepped up huge,” ISU point guard Jake Odum said. “These guys were relentless today. They made big plays after big plays.”
In addition to his last-second block, Brown led the Sycamores with 11 points, all scored in a five-minute burst to end the first half. It’s the first time the redshirt freshman has led ISU in scoring.
“Devonte saved us in the first half. There was no question. We were standing around stuck in mud. Devonte came in and was really aggressive getting to the paint,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
Kitchell picked up the scoring mantle in the second half. The sophomore scored seven of his career-high nine points in less than three minutes early in the half to help ISU break away from the Aces.
“For him to lift us? I’m so happy for him. He’s a tremendous teammate. Even when he’s playing three or four minutes, he’s always been a positive influence,” Lansing said.
ISU’s also held Evansville star Colt Ryan to eight points overall — 12 below his season average — and more importantly, held Ryan scoreless in the second half (see related story).
Ryan made just 4 of 18 from the field. It was the first time in 20 games Ryan failed to reach double-figure scoring. Ryan didn’t attempt a free throw, the first time he’s failed to do so in 24 contests.
Overall, ISU played defense with far more aplomb and attentiveness. In an 84-68 loss to Evansville last Saturday, the Aces had 26 assists. On Friday, Evansville (18-14) managed just six.
“We defensively stuck it to them. We got back to playing defense like we had in the past and got the monkey off our back,” Kitchell said.
The game was a bump-and-grind defensive stalemate from tipoff. Evansville enjoyed the advantage for most of the first half, but it never led by more than four points.
Brown provided a spark for ISU starting at the 5:30 mark. He converted a layup to pull ISU within one and didn’t stop scoring. By the :55 mark, Brown had scored via a putback, a layup, a 3-pointer and two free throws to fuel 13-6 run to give ISU a 27-23 lead.
The Sycamores led by two at the break despite no points from either Odum or reinstated Manny Arop in the first half.
“We really weren’t patient the first 10 minutes of the game. When I got in, if I wasn’t patient, I was coming right out,” said Brown on his spurt. “Guys were going to Gant, guys were going to Odum, so they’re leaving open lanes for me and everyone else.”
After Evansville sliced its deficit to one, Kitchell got ISU going. He provided seven of the points in a 12-3 run that helped ISU take a 44-34 lead with 10:56 left.
“We were doing a screen-and-roll thing. It was trying to find the open spaces and they found me in stride. It’s easy when guys find you inside,” Kitchell said.
ISU would only make two more field goals for the remainder of the game, and by the 6:18 mark, a 14-2 run helped Evansville take a 48-46 lead.
It was 50-50 by the 3:05 mark, but neither team could close the deal. ISU had a stretch of five consecutive empty possessions, but Ryan turned it over once and missed a pair of shots that could have put the Aces in front.
With 22.8 seconds left, Evansville had its best chance to take the lead as Troy Taylor was fouled on a backdoor cut. Taylor missed both free throws and ISU had a chance to play for the last shot.
It didn’t come to that. Instead, Gant was fouled by Egidijus Mockevicius with 2.5 left. Gant missed his first free throw, but drained the next to give ISU the lead.
Crafty Evansville elected to lob the ball into its own half. The Aces tipped the ball at the top of the key and guard Ned Cox recovered it and drove to the basket.
Brown, who originally had defended Ryan off the inbounds pass, slipped to the baseline and blocked Cox’s attempt at the buzzer.
“I thought we were beat. My heart was about to fall out of my chest,” Lansing said. “The basketball gods were watching and Devonte saved us.”
ISU had anticipated the tip play, but didn’t defend it correctly. Brown saved the day.
“We had a breakdown and somebody had to make a play. I just sprinted and got there and got the block. That’s all it really was. It was just a breakdown,” Brown said.
A “breakdown” that has ISU playing in a MVC Tournament semifinal for the second time in three seasons.
INDIANA STATE (51) — Arop 1-6 2-2 4, Mahurin 3-6 2-5 10, Cummings 0-3 2-2 2, Odum 2-8 0-1 5, K. Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Kitchell 4-4 1-2 9, Eitel 1-3 0-0 3, Gant 3-8 1-2 7, Brown 4-7 2-2 11. Totals 18-47 FG, 10-16 FT, 51 TP.
EVANSVILLE (50) — Mockevicius 4-5 3-3 11, Taylor 4-7 1-3 9,. Ryan 4-18 0-0 8, Wing 0-3 1-2 1, Cox 2-7 0-0 5, Sawvell 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 2-7 2-2 6, Moore 0-1 0-0 0, Balentine 4-8 0-0 10. Totals 20-56 FG, 7-10 FT, 50 TP.
Halftime score — ISU 27-25. 3-point goals — ISU 5-16 (Mahurin 2-5, Eitel 1-3, Odum 1-2, Brown 1-2, Arop 0-2, Cummings 0-2), UE 3-11 (Balentine 2-3, Cox 1-3, Ryan 0-3, Jones 0-2). Rebounds — ISU 35 (Gant 6, Brown 6, Mahurin 5, Kitchell 5, Team 4, Arop 3, Odum 3, Eitel 2, Cummings), UE 34 (Taylor 10, Mockevicius 7, Balentine 4, Team 4, Ryan 4, Jones 2, Cox, Sawvell, Nelson), Assists — ISU 10 (Odum 4, Brown 2, Arop, Cummings, Eitel, Gant), UE 6 (Cox 2, Taylor, Ryan, Wing, Balentine), Steals — ISU 3 (Cummings 3), UE 6 (Mockevicius 3, Wing 2, Ryan), Blocks — ISU 3 (Mahurin, K. Smith, Brown), UE 2 (Mockevicius), Turnovers — ISU 11 (Arop 3, Odum 2, Brown 2, Mahurin, Cummings, Kitchell, Eitel), UE 7 (Ryan 3, Taylor 2, Mockevicius, Wing), Total fouls — ISU 12, UE 14. A — 14,567 (first two games of session).
Next — ISU (18-13) plays Creighton (25-7) at 2:35 p.m. today in a MVC Tournament semifinal game. Evansville (18-14) will await its postseason fate.
Rejection at buzzer helps ISU advance to MVC semifinal
ST. LOUIS —
Two years ago, Indiana State knocked Evansville out of the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament via a last-second shot.
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.
- More College Headlines
- ISU falls one step short at MVC women's semis