ST. LOUIS —
Indiana State's 83-66 loss to Saint Louis on Wednesday at Chaifetz Arena was many things.
It was a study in how the Billikens play suffocatiing defense. Despite shooting 48 percent, ISU had trouble gaining traction against SLU's physical stopping power all night.
It was frustrating. ISU was whistled for 29 fouls, including 21 in the second half. SLU marched to the line seemingly at will. The second half was called far tighter by the officials than the first half where contact was widely tolerated which made it hard to know exactly how to play defense.
It was strange. ISU, the top 3-point shooting team in the nation entering the game, shot 3 of 11 from long range (and fell to third nationally). SLU, shooting 30 percent from 3-point range, drained 6 of 10 in the second half.
It was many things, but most of all, it was a missed opportunity for the Sycamores.
ISU coach Greg Lansing saw the game as a test of ISU's toughness against a prototypical Jim Crews-coached team that wears that attribute on its sleeve.
"[SLU] is the type of team you want to be. You want to be difficult to play against. You can go in our locker room right now and ask if Saint Louis was difficult to play against and their answer would be a resounding 'yes'. If you asked their team? I think they'd say they've played teams that were tougher," Lansing said.
"We said all along it was two good teams and the outcome would be on who was the tougher team. They gave us a lesson tonight. It's what we needed, really," he added.
Few Sycamores had solid games. Manny Arop led the Sycamores with 16 points and was an offensive force at times, but also, a defensive liability. Justin Gant and Khristian Smith had 12 points.
Guard play, normally one of ISU's strengths, let the Sycamores down. Jake Odum had nine points and six assists, but also had seven turnovers. Dawon Cummings scored four points and exercised poor shot selection.
The Billikens' defense had a lot to do with ISU's troubles. SLU's opponents have shot 39 percent and averaged 57 points per game this season -- excellent numbers given that physical defense is supposedly being legislated out of the game.
That legislation was nowhere to be found inside Chaifetz Arena in the first half, but came back with a vengeance in the second. The Billikens were given free reign to bump cutters, use arm-bars and body Sycamore ball-handlers.
"It was a physical game. Coach told us it was going to be a tough game. They're a well-coached team and they execute. That's what they did. They were tougher than us," Arop said.
The Sycamores were not given the same freedom in the second half when foul upon foul was called.
But it wasn't just calls or lack thereof. SLU's size helped it earn a 34-22 rebounding advantage, but the Billikens also beat ISU for some 50/50 balls. SLU scored 15 second-chance points.
"We knew we had to take the paint away, but too many times, they got second chance points and got key rebounds. It killed us throughout the game," Gant said.
SLU's impressive defensive pressure halted ISU's offense in the first 10 minutes. The Sycamores missed their first 10 of 14 shot attempts and found themselves down 11 with 8:33 left.
Arop helped ISU solve the Billikens hammer-lock. He scored eight points in a 15-4 run as ISU tied the game on an Odum three-point play at 2:08.
As impressive as ISU's fight back was, it's cave-in just before the half wiped out some of the gain. Two turnovers and a poor stepback 3-point attempt by Cummings gave SLU the impetus it needed to finish the half on a 7-0 run for a 34-27 halftime advantage.
"That's been our Achilles heel. We've had good spurts, but we can't have spurts where we're making mistakes and not making tough plays. You have to have a consistent effort for 40 minutes against a tough team," Lansing said.
SLU's lead twice reached 10 in the first 10 minutes of the second half, only to have ISU cut back into the deficit, almost exclusively by driving the basket.
From that point, the march to the free throw line began for the Billikens in a game that morphed from being called loose to air-tight in the second half. At one point in the final 10 minutes, SLU scored at the line on 10 of 14 possessions. In all SLU was 21 of 26 at the line after the break.
Dwayne Jones, SLU's leading scorer, went to the line 20 times alone. He made 16 and led all scorers with 24 points.
ISU had to back off defensively and SLU was able to find space on the perimeter. Austin McBroom (15 points) and Rob Loe (15 points) each made two 3-pointers in SLU's 6 of 10 3-point shooting in the second half.
ISU's offense was never able to get untracked. The flurry of fouls took the Sycamores out of their rhythm. ISU consistently scored in the paint, but its outside struggles kept it from keeping up with SLU's second half foul line parade.
"We got taught a lesson. I think we needed it. Our pride's hurt, our ego's hurt a little bit. We're a good team, but we got beat by a really good team that's tougher than heck," Lansing said.
After playing for nearly a month on the road, ISU returns home to play IUPUI on Saturday.
INDIANA STATE (66) -- Arop 7-12 1-1 16, Gant 4-8 4-5 12, Kitchell 0-2 1-2 1, Cummings 1-4 2-2 4, Odum 3-6 3-5 9, Eitel 0-0 1-2 1, Brown 2-5 2-3 6, Moore 1-2 0-0 2, B. Burnett 1-3 0-0 3, Smith 5-8 1-1 12, Bell 0-0 0-0 0. 24-50 FG, 15-21 FT, 66 TP.
SAINT LOUIS (83) -- Evans 4-8 16-20 24, Loe 5-8 2-2 15, Jett 5-9 1-4 12, McCall 2-7 0-0 6, J. Barnett 2-7 2-2 7, Glaze 1-3 0-0 2, McBroom 3-4 6-6 15, Manning 1-2 0-0 2. 23-48 FG, 27-34 FT, 83 TP.
Halftime -- SLU 34-27. 3-point goals -- ISU 3-11 (Arop 1-3, Burnett 1-1, Smith 1-1, Kitchell 0-2, Gant 0-1, Cummings 0-1, Odum 0-1, Brown 0-1); SLU 10-25 (Loe 3-6, McBroom 3-4, McCall 2-6, Barnett 1-6, Jett 1-2, Manning 0-1). Rebounds -- ISU 22 (Moore 5, Kitchell 4, Odum 3, Team 3, Arop 2, Gant 2, Smith 2, Burnett); SLU 34 (Loe 9, Evans 7, Glaze 4, McBroom 4, Team 4, McCall 3, Jett 2, Barnett). Assists -- ISU 12 (Odum 6, Kitchell 2, Smith 2, Cummings, Brown); SLU 18 (Jett 7, McBroom 6, McCall 2, Evans, Loe, Manning). Steals -- ISU 7 (Odum 3, Brown 2, Eitel, Smith); SLU 6 (Jett 3, Loe 2, Glaze). Blocks -- ISU 4 (Arop 2, Odum, Smith); SLU 8 (Loe 3, Manning 2, Evans, Jett, Barnett). Turnovers -- ISU 14 (Odum 7, Cummings 2, Eitel 2, Arop, Gant, Eitel); SLU 12 (Jett 4, Glaze 3, Evans 2, Barnett, McBroom, Team). Total fouls -- ISU 29, SLU 21. Fouled out -- Smith. A -- 7,205.
Next -- ISU (7-3) plays host to IUPUI and Saint Louis (10-2) plays host to North Carolina A&T on Saturday.
SLU beats ISU 83-66 in foul-marred game
ST. LOUIS —
Indiana State's 83-66 loss to Saint Louis on Wednesday at Chaifetz Arena was many things.
- Indiana State University
Clamping down: Pitching, defense lift ISU to third straight victory
Indiana State’s baseball trip to Victory Field on Wednesday to face Butler turned into a virtuoso performance in pitching and defense.
Metro roundup: Rose swimmer honored as CCIW’s best
Rose-Hulman sophomore Orion Martin of Dublin, Ohio, has been named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Male Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year, according to voting by league coaches.
ISU baseball improves to 26-12 with 10-3 victory over Purdue
As its 21st-place ranking in unofficial NCAA baseball RPI lists attest, Indiana State’s baseball team has done a lot right this season.
It’s been a surprising season, but one thing the Sycamores haven’t done is to put together a big early lead and ride out the wave.
On Tuesday against struggling Purdue, ISU finally added an early big inning to its list of accomplishments.
Til it's over: Grand memories usher in a new era for ISU track
John McNichols won his first Missouri Valley Conference championship in outdoor track at Indiana State’s Marks Field back in 1988. He’s gone on to win eight more — in addition to his two indoor track and eight cross country crowns. In 2016, McNichols will have a chance to add that outdoor title total on the site of a brand new facility — proposed to be named Gibson Track and Field by ISU President Dan Bradley.
Metro roundup: ISU trails by 4 with 18 holes left
Indiana State is four shots out of the lead and McCall Christopher five shots from the individual lead after the second of three rounds of the Missouri Valley Conference golf championships was completed Monday at Panther Creek Country Club.
Sycamores dig down to beat Canisius, avoid sweep
Indiana State took control late in the game and avoided being swept in a weekend college baseball series for the first time this season as it defeated Canisius 8-4 Sunday.
ISU baseball drops second straight
Indiana State’s baseball team rallied late in the game but could not get in front as the Canisius Golden Griffins held off the Sycamores 5-4 Saturday.
ISU (24-12) will look to avoid being swept for the first time this season at noon EDT today when it plays the series finale against Canisius (22-13).
Driving to victory
College golf, Indiana State coach Greg Towne indicated Monday afternoon, is all about the process.
ISU losing Ragland to Bowling Green St.
David Ragland was the first person Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing hired to his staff when he became the Sycamores’ head coach in 2010.
FROM THE PRESSBOX: In Lance the Pacers trust? Why not?
The trials and tribulations of the Indiana Pacers are well documented.
Sycamores just one shot behind in tourney on familiar turf
Lack of experience in playing a collegiate women’s golf tournament in their own backyard may not be a hindrance for Indiana State, which finds itself one shot out of the lead — and with room to do better — after Sunday’s first round of the Indiana State Spring Invitational at the Country Club of Terre Haute.
ISU pushes run across in 9th to beat SIU — again
Indiana State scored in the ninth inning for a second game in a row Sunday, breaking a tie to defeat host Southern Illinois and win a closely contested Missouri Valley Conference baseball series.
Indiana State falls to No. 23-ranked IU 8-4 in baseball
Indiana State’s baseball team tried to walk a double tightrope this week.
The degree of difficulty was cranked up significantly as the Sycamores played back-to-back games at Vanderbilt and Indiana, both top 25 teams.
ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2
The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2
ISU baseball is deadly with two outs
One of the many charms of baseball is that there are a thousand different debates about a thousand different topics one can embroil themselves in. One of the most passionate is whether clutch hitting exists.
ISU dusts off its broom
Wichita State’s baseball program has been the bellwether of the Missouri Valley Conference for more than a quarter-century. And 2014 is no different. When a team has success against the Shockers, picked to win the league in the preseason coaches’ poll, it still has cachet.
Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015
Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
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 sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
Bad day for Sycamores
Indiana State’s baseball team has had more good days than bad so far this season.
Sunday, however, was bad in every way.
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.
‘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.
ISU committed to making Tonyan a key contributor
Indiana State’s 1-11 2013 football season was nightmarish in many ways, but one player who had to endure it with eyes more wide open than most was Robert Tonyan Jr.
Thrust into a much larger role than anticipated at quarterback when Mike Perish was injured in early October, and with injuries occurring all around him as well, the then-redshirt freshman struggled behind center.
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.
Aces ride leadoff success to series win over ISU
The leadoff bullets were flying around at Evansville’s Charles Braun Stadium as Indiana State and Evansville locked up in a Missouri Valley Conference baseball series decider on Sunday.
ISU stretching to improve softball program
Some are from as far away as California, or Arizona or Iowa. Some played their high school games a little closer to Terre Haute, such as at North Central or Clay City.
ISU loses 63-61 to Marquette in WNIT
After a Jasmine Grier 3-pointer with four seconds on the clock cut Marquette’s lead to two points, a crazy March ending appeared possible as Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir came up with a steal with just more than a second to go Thursday in Hulman Center
Abdul-Qaadir had momentum going toward the bucket after her steal but couldn’t get the layup off in time as the Sycamores fell in the first round of the Women’s NIT to the Big East squad, 63-61.
- More Indiana State University Headlines
- Clamping down: Pitching, defense lift ISU to third straight victory