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January 4, 2009

From The Press Box: After loss, Sycamores vow to look in the mirror

There was a lot for the Indiana State men’s basketball players to be embarrassed about after its 65-59 loss to Evansville at Hulman Center on Sunday.

• The Sycamores allowed Evansville to score 43 points off turnovers and offensive boards.

• None of the Sycamores could seemingly relax and avoid mistakes to give themselves a chance to bury the Purple Aces after leading by as much as 14 in the first half and 12 in the second half.

• Not only could ISU not pull away, it blew its lead and let Evansville wrest it away from them in the final two minutes after the Sycamores had led for nearly 35 minutes.

• There was the “Go Aces Go!” chant that echoed inside Hulman Center from Evansville’s fan contingent, a rally cry that poured salt in the Sycamores’ wounds after they ran out of gas in the final minute.

A chant that contrasted tellingly against the crushing silence from ISU’s disconsolate fans, who filed out of Hulman Center with every range of emotion save happiness.

But mostly, the Sycamores were just embarrassed with themselves.

Guard Harry Marshall and center Isiah Martin were slumped in their chairs in the media room, not trying to hide their embarrassment after ISU snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

There’s no point in trying to go into any deep rationale as to why the Sycamores have struggled to a 3-11 mark, losing three games at Hulman Center by six points or less. The reasons were evident in the faces of Marshall and Martin as well as their words.

“We have to have more toughness. The bigs didn’t do anything this game. We got outrebounded by a 6-5 swingman [Nate Garner, who scored 21 with seven rebounds and four steals] who averages maybe seven points a game,” said Martin, who had five blocks. “Shy Ely had two in the first half and ends up with 24. He got layups in the paint that were uncontested, it’s just a toughness issue with the team right now. Right now, we’re not tough.”

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