TERRE HAUTE —
During his four seasons, Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing has compiled a career record of 57-44. Not too shabby.
Lansing locks horns tonight against Belmont head coach Rick Byrd. Byrd’s career record? 664-349. Byrd is one of just 78 coaches in college basketball history who has 600 or more victories at a four-year college.
Byrd is currently tied with former ISU and UCLA boss John Wooden in career wins. Nice company to be in.
So how come Byrd isn’t better known? It’s not for lack of accomplishment, it’s just that much of it was done out of the national spotlight.
Byrd has taken the Bruins from the NAIA ranks to perennial Division I NCAA Tournament participant in his 28 seasons at the Nashville school.
Lansing knows the Sycamores will have to be sharp to take down Byrd’s Bruins when they meet at 8 p.m. tonight at Belmont’s Curb Event Center.
“It’s an honor and a little overwhelming to face a guy that’s won that many games and coached that long. The program he’s established there is unbelievable,” Lansing said.
Belmont’s rise through the Division I ranks under Byrd has been impressive. The Bruins moved from NAIA to Division I in 1996 and have suffered just three losing seasons since the transition.
Belmont joined the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2001 and won or shared six conference titles and advanced to five NCAA Tournaments. Included was a 71-70 loss to Duke in the 2008 Tournament when the Bruins were a No. 15 seed.
Belmont joined the Ohio Valley Conference last season and promptly won the league and conference tournament. It’s one reason why Belmont was mentioned as a potential Missouri Valley Conference expansion candidate last spring after Creighton left the league.
Byrd is the reason for the Bruins’ success. Lansing doesn’t know Byrd, but he sees some reasons for Byrd’s success.
“They play very hard and competitive and they’re disciplined. They’re well-schooled and they have a plan. They carry out that plan and they’re going to make you have to beat them,” Lansing said. “They do a good job of spreading you out. When you close out, they shot-fake and drive. They’re very tough to defend.”
Belmont is 1-1 so far. The Bruins defeated crosstown rival Lipscomb 87-83 and lost 69-61 at Richmond on Monday. Belmont has nine newcomers on its roster, but still boasts three senior starters, including forward Blake Jenkins, who averages 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Belmont’s signature in its first two games is its ability to get to the foul line (44 of 67 in two games) and shaky rebounding. Belmont foes have averaged 40 team rebounds per contest.
“They’re a good team. It’s going to be a good road test and its basically like a conference game since they come back to our place,” ISU swingman Khristian Smith said.
ISU and Belmont have an in-season home-and-home series. The Bruins play at Hulman Center on Dec. 28.
Lansing didn’t think ISU played “particularly well” in its 82-73 victory over Ball State last Saturday, but feels the Sycamores need to do better. It starts with a better defensive effort.
“We weren’t very good at all against Ball State. We had breakdowns in a lot of different areas. We have to be tougher to play against on the defensive end,” Lansing said.
n ISU gets NLI’s from three recruits — All three ISU basketball recruits delivered National Letters of Intent on signing day Wednesday. Lansing is thrilled to have guard Charles “Tre” Bennett, guard Laquarious Paige and center Brandon Murphy in the fold.
Bennett and Paige are from Texas. Bennett played high school ball at both Milby and Yates High Schools in Houston. After finishing up at nationally-ranked Yates, Bennett played at prep school Rise Academy in Philadelphia for a year before he enrolled at Lamar State College, a junior college in Port Arthur, Texas.
The 5-10 point guard averaged 8.8 points and 2.8 assists for the Seahawks last season. He also drained 40.7 percent of his 3-point shots.
“He’s a tremendous get for us. He really knows how to play. He’s averaging over 20 already in his season. With us losing three seniors, including our point and combo guards, he can step right in. We thought it would be hard for a freshman to come in and run the team,” Lansing said.
Paige is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound point guard from Orange, Texas. He plays at West Orange-Stark High School. He averaged 16 points and four assists last season.
“Laquarious is a special kid. He’s self-taught on the guitar and piano. He’s a 3.7 student. We beat Harvard on him, so that tells you the kind of kid he is,” Lansing said. “He’s kind of unknown because he didn’t play on the major AAU circuit, but we look for great things from him down the road.”
Murphy — 6-foot-7, 270 pounds — will give the Sycamores considerable bulk inside. Murphy plays at Carver High School in Montgomery, one of Alabama’s powerhouse programs. Murphy averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds as he helped the Wolverines finish 27-2 last season. Carver won Alabama’s 6A championship in 2012.
“We haven’t had anyone like him since I can recall. He’s a post. That’s what he is. He’s going to patrol that paint and he’s going to compete,” Lansing said.
ISU was tipped about Murphy by a one-time Sycamore — Mississippi State coach Rick Ray — who was an assistant at ISU from 1997-2004. Current assistant coach Marcus Belcher took over from there and helped get Murphy to ISU.
“Rick told us about him. They have two [Carver] players on his team, one that’s there and one that’s coming to them. He said we needed to look at him,” Lansing said. “We looked at him in July, loved him, and tried to keep quiet about it so no one else found about him.”
Byrd seeks 665th career victory tonight against ISU
TERRE HAUTE —
During his four seasons, Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing has compiled a career record of 57-44. Not too shabby.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman
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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.
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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
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Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015
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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
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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
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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.
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