News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

November 3, 2013

Indiana State set to battle Rose-Hulman in exhibition game

Engineers' coach Shaw excited about ISU's talent

TERRE HAUTE — First and foremost, today’s men’s basketball exhibition between Indiana State and Rose-Hulman at 2:05 p.m. today in Hulman Center is an exercise in both teams trying to get better before their seasons begin.

But it’s also a meeting of friends.

ISU and Rose-Hulman’s programs share the same city and they share affinity for one another as well. ISU coach Greg Lansing and Rose-Hulman coach Jim Shaw are friends and the close ISU-Rose relationship has spanned several coaching regimes.

ISU used to practice at Rose-Hulman frequently during the Kevin McKenna era and today’s exhibition is the third time the crosstown rivals have meet in an exhibition game since 2009.

But to call them “rivals” is a misnomer given the friendly vibe.

“We want to beat them on Sunday, but we want them to win all of their games. I’m a huge fan of Jim Shaw and his program and he’s been a supporter of us since I was here the first time,” said Lansing, referring to his first stint as an ISU assistant coach from 1996-99.

“[Shaw] would come in the locker room in tough times. He wasn’t just there to pat you on the back after a big win. He’s a good friend,” Lansing recalled.

Shaw is excited to pit his NCAA Division III Engineers against the Sycamores. He’ll also have his eye on downtown Terre Haute’s campus too.

“I’m really excited about their team. I know it sounds funny, coming from an opponent, but I don’t think we consider ourselves pure opponents in this case,” Shaw said.

“I’m looking forward to their team development. Greg does a great job. They’ve got good players. They obviously should be a handful for us, but I think they’re going to be a handful for several Division I teams as well.”

Shaw’s Engineers will be a handful themselves.

The Engineers, 24-4 a year ago, were picked to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Rose’s strength is in its guard play.

Senior Julian Strickland was a second-team All-American a year ago and has 1,099 career points for the Engineers. Continuing the friendly rivals theme, Strickland was an Indianapolis Pike teammate of ISU sophomore swingman Khristian Smith.

“It’ll be fun. I’ve been talking to him a lot since we knew the game was going on,” said Smith, who said family and friends of both players will be on hand. “He’s a Division I talent, but he’s smart enough to go to Rose-Hulman, so he’s there. He’ll be one of the most talented players on the court.”

Strickland, a slasher, is complemented by senior guard James Pillischafske, the second-best 3-point shooter in Engineers’ history. Pillischafske converted 30 percent of his 3-pointers last season.

Rose lost four of its top six scorers from last season’s team. Past Strickland and Pillischafske, forward Jimmy Miller is the next-highest returning scorer at 3.3 points per game.

ISU’s challenge will be fighting through injuries. Point guard Jake Odum didn’t play in last week’s closed scrimmage against Murray State as he’s had a nagging left calf injury. ISU is inclined to take it easy with Odum, if only he’d let them.

“We’re going to try to ease up on him as much as possible, but the problem is Jake, he doesn’t ease up, but we can play deeper this year. The staff and I are committed to playing more guys,” Lansing said.

Lansing said forward Justin Gant won’t play. Gant suffered a sprained ankle, the extent of which hadn’t yet been determined. If there’s a tear revealed in an MRI, Gant could miss part of the season.

Today’s game will be broadcast live on WIBQ-FM 98.5.

Tribune-Star sports reporter David Hughes contributed to this report.

 

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