SOUTH BEND —
Not ... this ... time.
Indiana State experienced the sting of squandering a 16-point halftime lead at Belmont on Thursday, and after No. 21 Notre Dame wiped out a 10-point ISU halftime lead in five minutes, that sinking feeling was settling in again.
But the Sycamores were made of tougher stuff on Sunday at the Joyce Center. After ISU was punched, the Sycamores stood tall and delivered an 18-3 counterpunch. Notre Dame didn’t know what hit it and never recovered, as the Sycamores earned an impressive 83-70 victory.
Justin Gant led ISU (2-1) with 17 points and was one of five Sycamores in double figures. Khristian Smith had 15 points and was vital in ISU’s first- and second-half surges (see related story). Those were two of many Sycamores who contributed.
“It was a heck of a team win,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said. “I’m so proud of these guys. Our focus after the debacle at Belmont was by 2:30 today to forget all about that game. These guys are a smart, hard-working group that beat a very good team today.”
It was ISU’s second consecutive win against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent; the Sycamores defeated Miami in December 2012.
It was also the first November loss Notre Dame (2-1) has suffered on its home floor during the 14 years Mike Brey has coached the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame had been 48-0 in November under Brey until Sunday.
These were all feathers in ISU’s cap — the $85,000 guarantee Notre Dame paid ISU will feather the athletic coffers — but what was important to ISU was regaining its pride after the Belmont loss. Mission accomplished.
It helped that ISU has done this before. The team reached deep and fell back on its wins over Mississippi, Miami, Wichita State and Creighton to provide the gumption to beat the Irish.
“We played a lot of big games and had success in them. We didn’t get too excited when we had the lead and we didn’t get too down when they took the lead. We did what we do best, we defended, rebounded and took good shots on offense,” Gant said.
ISU scored 80 points or more for the third time in as many games. The Sycamores shot 48.3 percent and converted 16 of 17 at the line.
Before shots began to fall, the Sycamores had to get cooking on the defensive end. Notre Dame had a stretch of 12 in 13 possessions where it failed to score. It was a welcome return of ISU’s identity after the Belmont debacle, and it allowed the Sycamores to kick the door in with their offense.
As it was on Thursday at Belmont, it was Khristian Smith who lit the fuse for the Sycamores. The sophomore scored nine points in succession for the Sycamores and ignited what became a 12-2 run to put the Sycamores up 19-7.
Then the 3-point shots rained down on the Irish from a bevy of Sycamores. ISU hit six 3s in a row. Smith, Brandon Burnett, Devonte Brown, Dawon Cummings and Justin Gant all got into the act. The sharpshooting pushed ISU’s lead to 14. ISU led 40-30 at halftime.
“It was definitely a good roll,” said Burnett, who had seven points. “It was one of those times where everything was falling. We have good shot prep in practice, but it starts with penetration. Our shooters did a good job spotting up.”
ISU’s run was even more impressive considering that Manny Arop and Demetrius Moore were off the floor for a long part of it because of foul trouble.
“You have to thrive off that,” Lansing said. “We have a tremendous bench. We want our second five to be as good as our five. I think we have a team like that.”
ISU let its concentration slip in the first five minutes of the second half and Notre Dame was too good to not take advantage. The Irish opened the half on a 15-4 run and took a 45-44 lead on a three-point play by Austin Burgett.
“We came out and clock-watched a bit too much,” Lansing said. “You have to stay aggressive. We controlled the game because we were the more aggressive team and we didn’t do that to start [the second half].”
The Sycamores had seen this movie before and were determined to not experience a repeat. Once again, it was Smith who provided the jump-start.
His runner at 14:46 and his 19-footer at 14:05 helped ISU breathe a sigh of relief as it took a 48-45 lead. Then the Sycamores turned up the wick.
Notre Dame turned it over on three straight trips, leading to a Jake Odum layup and a Cummings steal and bucket. Notre Dame failed to score a field goal from the 15:07 mark to the 7:38. ISU kept the pressure on and its 18-3 run restored its 14-point advantage as it led 62-48.
“In practice, coach just talked about ‘finishing, finishing,’” Smith said. “Things are going to happen on the road, things aren’t going to go your way. We had to be the tougher team, and at the end of the day, we were.”
ISU’s lead peaked at 15 with six minutes left when Notre Dame conjured a response. A 7-0 Fighting Irish run cut ISU’s lead to 66-58 with 4:57 left. Notre Dame still had time.
Cummings stemmed the tide. He stole the ball from Jerian Grant and went coast-to-coast for a bucket at 4:05 to make it 68-58. The play broke Notre Dame’s momentum, and the Irish would not get within eight the rest of the way.
“Coach [Lansing] didn’t want me to worry about shots, ” Cummings said. “I needed to start helping the team by anticipating on the defensive end and using my athleticism to get in passing lanes. I focused on defense and let my offense go from there.”
ISU held Grant — who had averaged 20.5 points — to 4-of-14 shooting. The Irish shot 36.9 percent, the first time ISU has held an opponent under 50 percent this season.
“We kind of let up a little bit,” Gant said. “We felt like, after we took the lead, this was our game. We had to keep playing ... and you saw what happened
The Sycamores know it all too well, having experienced it themselves three days ago. They were gratified to avoid a repeat.
“It’s nice that we learned from our last game,” Odum said. “We slipped a little bit, but this is a top-25 team, so we knew they were going to be ready to go. When they battled back, we stayed composed.”
ISU next plays Truman State at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Hulman Center.
INDIANA STATE (83) — Gant 6-12 2-2 17, Moore 2-2 0-0 4, Arop 3-8 4-4 13, Cummings 3-7 0-1 7, Odum 2-6 6-6 10, Kitchell 0-1 0-0 0, Eitel 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 3-5 2-2 10, Burnett 3-5 0-0 7, Smith 6-11 2-2 15, Bell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-58 FG, 16-17 FT, 83 TP.
NOTRE DAME (70) — Knight 0-1 0-0 0, Sherman 2-6 0-0 4, Atkins 6-13 4-6 18, Grant 4-14 8-9 17, Connaughton 5-10 2-4 16, Beachem 0-1 0-0 0, Crowley 1-2 0-0 2, Burgett 1-3 1-1 3, Jackson 1-5 0-0 2, Auguste 3-7 0-0 6, Vasturia 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 24-65 FG, 15-20 FT, 70 TP.
Halftime score — ISU 40-30. 3-point goals — ISU 11-20 (Gant 3-4, Arop 3-4, Brown 2-3, Cummings 1-3, Burnett 1-3, Smith 1-2, Odum 0-1), ND 7-26 (Connaughton 4-7, Atkins 2-4, Grant 1-6, Jackson 0-4, Burgett 0-2, Beachem 0-1). Rebounds — ISU 37 (Odum 7, Team 6, Brown 5, Gant 4, Arop 4, Smith 4, Moore 3, Kitchell 2, Cummings, Burnett), ND 37 (Connaughton 8, Auguste 8, Sherman 5, Grant 4, Burgett 4, Team 3, Vasturia 2, Knight, Atkins, Crowley). Assists — ISU 11 (Odum 5, Gant 2, Eitel 2, Cummings, Brown), ND 13 (Atkins 5, Grant 5, Connaughton 2, Jackson). Steals — ISU 8 (Cummings 4, Odum 2, Kitchell), ND 8 (Grant 2, Sherman, Atkins, Connaughton, Crowley, Burgett, Vasturia). Blocks — ISU 2 (Cummings, Brown), ND 6 (Burgett 4, Connaughton, Auguste). Turnovers — ISU 16 (Arop 3, Brown 3, Gant 2, Cummings 2, Odum 2, Burnett 2, Smith 2), ND 16 (Sherman 4, Grant 4, Burgett 3, Connaughton 2, Knight, Atkins, Auguste). Total fouls — ISU 18, ND 17. Fouled out — Burgett. A — 8,257.
Next — ISU (2-1) plays host to Truman State and Notre Dame (2-1) plays host to Santa Clara on Friday.
Sycamores use early lead, late run for upset victory
SOUTH BEND —
Not ... this ... time.
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.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Indiana State women move within one win from MVC title
Senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir had 23 points to lead Indiana State to a 73-71 win at Drake on Thursday. The point guard led four Sycamores in double figures in the win.
Anna Munn, Jasmine Grier and Chelsea Small each chipped in 11 points as ISU shot 10-of-21 from 3-point range as a team.
Sycamores rejuvenated heading into MVC Tournament quarterfinals
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum is sick-and-tired of being sick and tired.
He’s tired of hearing about the team’s three-game losing streak. He’s tired of the Sycamores playing below par. He’s tired of the team not fulfilling its potential.
He plans to do something about it this weekend. Second-seeded ISU begins its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trek at 7:05 p.m. tonight against either No. 10 Loyola.
Rose-Hulman seniors lead Engineers into NCAA Division III Tournament
For Rose-Hulman’s six senior men’s basketball players, this weekend will mark the beginning of their third and final appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Having left Terre Haute by bus Thursday, Rose (22-5) will open the Division III four-team regional at Hope College in Holland, Mich., today against Wheaton College (19-8) at the unique time of 5:30 p.m.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers are coming off Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) regular-season and tournament championships for the second consecutive year.
ISU women seek top MVC seed
Defense and rebounding are the staples of Teri Moren’s fourth Indiana State team, a squad that hits the road trying to defend and rebound its way to a regular-season conference title. The Sycamores women’s basketball can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins tonight against Drake and Saturday against Northern Iowa.
Nebraska completes sweep of Indiana
Indiana’s slim hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid are all but done, unless the Hoosiers can win the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska never trailed Wednesday night, completing a season sweep of the Hoosiers with a 70-60 win. The loss ensures a losing conference record for IU (17-13, 7-10 Big Ten) while boosting the Huskers’ chances at an at-large berth.
ISU reserve Smith earns two MVC honors
Indiana State sophomore Khristian Smith has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench and Most Improved Teams, according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday.
Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
A Vigo County’s Sheriff’s case report of Brenton Scott’s arrest last Saturday indicated that Scott, an Indiana State basketball player, tried to pass himself off as his twin brother and that two of his teammates were with him at the time of the incident.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
Indiana State men's basketball player Brenton Scott was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Saturday for operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana/hash, possession of paraphenalia and false reporting/informing.
Odum can't get roll on game-winning attempt on Senior Day
The storybook was ready to be opened at Hulman Center on Saturday.
Down two with 4.5 seconds to go, Indiana State rebounded a free throw miss by Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. ISU senior point guard Odum timed his dash perfectly up the floor. He released his shot from just behind the 3-point line at just the right second. The shot was true and online.
TODD GOLDEN: Lansing's belief in his team has not wavered
In the wake of Indiana State’s 71-69 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, and the three-game losing streak that comes with it, ISU coach Greg Lansing wanted to get one point across crystal clear in his postgame press conference.
VIDEO: Munn has made her mark on ISU women's program
Anna Munn has been a dependable leader in the Indiana State women’s basketball program. Her leadership has helped coach Teri Moren build to back-to-back 10-or-more win seasons in the Missouri Valley the last two years.
Rose-Hulman wins third straight HCAC tournament crown
Tied with Hanover 26-26 at halftime of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship game Saturday night, host Rose-Hulman knew it had a couple of things in its favor.
Rolling along: Third straight victory helps Sycamores tie for second in MVC
Aside from Teri Moren sticking with her pink Chuck Taylor shoes on the sideline for superstitious reasons, Indiana State’s three-game winning streak can be explained by strong play in nearly every aspect of the game.
Sycamores stay positive in face of adversity
After Indiana State’s 77-59 loss at Illinois State on Wednesday, ISU players had an idea of how the tone of Thursday and Friday’s practices would be prior to today’s regular-season finale against Northern Iowa.
Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title
For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
- More College Headlines
- Guts, sweat, tears: Sycamores fall to perfect Shockers