TERRE HAUTE —
When trying to figure out how a team won a game it’s easy to over-think it.
Sometimes a victory is as simple as having better individual talent. The good news for Indiana State’s men’s basketball team on Saturday in its season opener against Ball State was that the Sycamores possessed better goods.
ISU’s leading lights shone bright enough to help the Sycamores defeat the Cardinals 82-73 in front of 7,221 at Hulman Center.
Dawon Cummings had a career-high 21 points and made his first five 3-pointers of the contest to stake ISU to a lead it never relinquished. Cummings made 6 of 8 3-pointers overall.
“It really started with our preparation. We knew they’d be a pack-line defense. The person on the ball would create pressure, but everyone else would be in the gaps. We just rotated the ball a couple of times and got simple spot-up shots. I was just feeling it tonight,” Cummings said.
Jake Odum added 17 points, had seven assists and was 10 of 11 from the line. Manny Arop converted 6 of 8 from the field and had 14 points. Justin Gant played through a sprained right ankle and contributed 11 points and five rebounds.
“I think we have good offensive players and we’re going to be able to score,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
All of the above players provided plenty of quality for the Sycamores and it was needed.
In other aspects of the game, particularly those less measured in individual quality than team quality, ISU wasn’t sharp. ISU’s team defense was off-kilter as the Cardinals shot 53.2 percent from the field. Ball State guard Jesse Berry led all scorers with 23.
Despite a 56 percent shooting performance, ISU’s communication on offense wasn’t to the desired level and the Sycamores were turnover-prone in the opening half with nine giveaways. The dropoff in quality from ISU’s starters to its bench was also significant.
Much of it can likely be chalked up to first-game jitters and re-adjusting to game speed. But that doesn’t mean the Sycamores were happy about it.
“There’s going to be nights where we’re not making shots and we have to buckle down a lot more on that defensive end,” Lansing said. “We have to have more defensive tenacity and be unselfish on the offensive end.”
Lansing said Odum and Cummings played the worst defense out of any Sycamore on the floor.
“A lot of those mistakes came from myself,” Odum said. “We can’t let a team score 73 or shoot 56 percent from the field, but if we’re scoring 82 that’s a give-and-take situation. We do need to have more bite to our defense.”
Playing literally inches away from the courtside seat occupied by Larry Bird — whose statue in front of Hulman Center was dedicated before the game — Cummings did a pretty good impression of the ISU legend to start the game. Cummings scored three 3-pointers in ISU’s first five possessions to stake the Sycamores to a 9-3 advantage. When Ball State closed the gap to 17-14, Cummings hit two more three’s to make it 23-17.
Cummings admitted that it was fun to make those shots with Bird looking on.
“I think he rubbed off on me a little bit,” Cummings said.
Ball State was well aware of Cummings’ shooting ability, but still couldn’t stop the senior.
“He got loose a little bit in the first half. We told our players some were tough, some were wide-open. I don’t care about the tough ones. If he makes those? All power to him,” Ball State coach James Whitford said. “Odum created a few for him with his penetration. He collapsed our defense and kicked out.”
For most of the rest of the first half, the Sycamores and Cardinals engaged in a tit-for-tat scoring splurge. At one point, ISU scored on eight consecutive trips, but Ball State scored on eight of 10 possessions over the same period.
Ball State closed the gap to one with just over a minute to go. Gant then converted a reverse layup and a 3-pointer to make it 40-32, and after a pair of Cardinals free throws, Gant and Odum got crafty.
On an inbounds pass with just over a second left in the first half, Odum inbounded to Gant, who quickly batted it back to Odum. Ball State’s defense reacted late on Odum’s long 3-point heave and he was fouled. He made all three free throws to give ISU a 43-34 halftime lead. The gap built gave ISU a spark in the second half.
ISU cut down on its turnovers after the break and its lead peaked at 53-38 with 16:19 left when Arop converted a layup.
From there, ISU kept Ball State at arm’s length, but not always comfortably. Ball State cut the deficit to 64-58 with 9:54 left, but a 7-2 ISU run kept the Sycamores in front. ISU’s lead never slipped below a seven-point gap for the rest of the game, but neither did the lead get higher than 11.
The win was significant in the long history of the ISU-Ball State series. ISU has its first three-game winning streak against Ball State since 1980. That’s nice for ISU to have considered the two state rivals compete for many of the same recruits.
ISU next plays at Belmont in Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday. It is part of a single-season home-and-home series. Belmont returns the game and plays at ISU on Dec. 28.
VIDEO: Dawon Cummings, Jake Odum and Greg Lansing
TERRE HAUTE —
When trying to figure out how a team won a game it’s easy to over-think it.
- Indiana State University
ISU’s Abdul-Qaadir, Munn All-MVC selections
Senior guards Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Anna Munn have both been named to Missouri Valley Conference All-Conference teams, announced by the league on Wednesday. Abdul-Qaadir earned a spot on the first-team while Munn was named honorable mention.
Metro sports: ‘Lucky Lou’ strikes again on golf course
Retired Public Service Indiana employee Lou Mundell, a lifelong resident of Terre Haute, posted the fifth hole-in-one of his life Tuesday afternoon at the Harder Hall Country Club golf course in his winter home of Sebring.
ISU win streak at 12
Ryan Keaffaber recorded his sixth save in seven opportunities Monday as Indiana State won its 12th straight college baseball game, holding off a rally by visiting Western Illinois for a 7-4 victory on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
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.
Reliever leads comeback in ISU's 11th straight win
It could have been just a mop-up role for Josh Dove on Sunday at Bob Warn Field, but the Indiana State relief pitcher wasn’t thinking that way.
ISU fans cheer their team from afar
Indiana State University basketball fans eagerly supported their team Sunday, even from a distance, as they watched the Sycamores battle in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game being played in St. Louis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Odum, Smith, Arop recognized by MVC
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum doesn’t play baseball, but he did go 4-for-4 in his Sycamore career.
His 4-for-4 performance came in regards to his All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. Odum has been named to the all-MVC team in each of his four seasons, and for the second time in a year, Odum was named to the MVC’s first team.
Teammate Khristian Smith also received a major individual honor. Smith, a sophomore, earned the MVC’s Sixth Man Award. Senior Manny Arop also was named as an All-MVC honorable-mention selection.
ISU’s Odum earns first-team All-MVC honors
ST. LOUIS —Indiana State guard Jake Odum earned a spot on the 2014 All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, which was announced today as the Sycamores prepare for this week’s MVC men’s basketball tournament.
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.
Senior Day Success
Indiana State shot just 35 percent from the field Sunday in Hulman Center compared with 46 percent for the visiting Bradley women, but that was almost a good thing.
ISU teams sweep titles in indoor track
Indiana State’s track teams swept the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships on Sunday at Northern Iowa, the men leading all the way and the women surviving a three-way battle.
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.
Red-hot ISU baseball wins eighth straight game
Indiana State broke away from a tight ballgame with four runs in the fifth inning and went on to post their eighth-straight victory of the 2014 campaign with a 10-3 triumph over New Orleans Saturday.
David Stagg (3-0) was the winning pitcher for the Sycamores as he went seven innings. He allowed two runs, scattered nine hits and struck out eight.
- More Indiana State University Headlines
- ISU’s Abdul-Qaadir, Munn All-MVC selections