TERRE HAUTE —
When one looks at a who’s who list of who’s missing from college basketball teams nationwide, the Indiana State men’s basketball team has been somewhat lucky it’s been spared from any major damage to its roster.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t Sycamores who are hurting.
Two important players are point guard Jake Odum and forward Justin Gant. Both are playing through various ailments and are expected to continue to do so as ISU travels to play at Loyola tonight.
Gant has what ISU coach Greg Lansing called a “litany” of ailments. Most serious is an injury to his foot, but Lansing also noted that Gant is a full-go for tonight’s contest.
“He’ll be fine. He’s with the trainer non-stop and he does what he needs to do to take care of his body. He’s been beat up a little bit and played through some things, but he’s a full-go,” Lansing said Tuesday.
Odum has suffered from tendonitis in both of his knees since December. He’s played through it, but has been kept out of action in some practices to try and keep the condition from worsening.
Odum is famously reluctant when it comes to talking about his injuries. That hasn’t changed.
“Everybody’s got pain. I’m no different than anyone else. You just have to manage it and take care of your body. I get treatment on a daily basis,” Odum said.
Odum said he doesn’t notice the injury too much during games when his adrenaline is going. He said it’s more of an achy feeling that he has and that the pain depends on the day.
Being a senior, he doesn’t want to miss any time because he knows his time in an ISU uniform is running out. So he and Lansing had a discussion about missing practices. The conclusion was that Odum will participate fully in practices for the remainder of the season.
“I’m going full the rest of the year … there’s no question,” Odum said. “I’m not the type of person who can sit out during practice. It frustrates me and messes with my head.”
Lansing thought Odum didn’t look himself in Saturday’s 68-48 loss at Wichita State on Saturday. That’s when he and Odum had the discussion about practice.
“We’ve tried to rest him and hold him out, but he doesn’t like it, and he’s right. He’s a leader and I respect what he says. He’s a player who plays by feel. We’re trusting him with full reps and if he’s tired and he needs out, he can get out. We’re going away from resting him. He’s earned that right,” Lansing said.
ISU (14-4, 5-1) heads to Loyola licking its wounds after the resounding defeat at Wichita State on Saturday. The disappointment of not playing to the Shockers’ level is obvious, but Lansing was encouraged by the team’s response since and said there’s specific lessons the Sycamores have to take to heart.
“We want to be harder to play against. Offensively, we only scored 48 and that had a lot to do with quick shooting on offense. A lot of it had to do with not sharing the ball, which isn’t normal for us, and playing kind of into Wichita State’s strength,” he said. “On defense, we gave up too many easy baskets. They had 14 more rebounds and eight more made free throws. Those are stats that are very telling.”
Loyola (7-11, 2-4) has lost three of its last four, but the Ramblers have been feisty inside Gentile Center with a 6-2 mark there. The most eye-popping home victory for the Ramblers was a 32-point destruction of Missouri State on Jan. 5. The Bears were at full strength at the time of Loyola’s triumph.
Freshman guard Milton Doyle is coming into his own as he’s averaged 15.2 points in MVC games so far. Christian Thomas is close behind at 14.5.
“They’re a good team. They were good in here [ISU won 70-58 at Hulman Center on Jan. 1]. We’re a seasoned team coming off a domination by the best team in the league, so we have to pick ourselves up off the court and get better. We have done that the last few days,” Lansing said.
Terre Haute native Matt O’Leary has gone through a rough patch with the Ramblers of late. He’s scored two points and is a combined 1 of 8 from the field in Loyola’s last three games.
ISU at Loyola
Tipoff — 8 p.m. today at Gentile Center, Chicago.
Broadcasts — Radio: WIBQ-FM (98.5). Twitter: @TribStarTodd.
Series — ISU leads 9-7. ISU defeated Loyola 70-58 on Jan. 1 at Hulman Center.
Last time out — ISU lost 68-48 at Wichita State and Loyola lost 53-48 to Evansville on Saturday.
Indiana State Sycamores (14-4, 5-1) — G Jake Odum (6-4, Sr., 12.2, 5.1 apg, 4.4 rpg), G Dawon Cummings (6-4, Sr., 11.3), G-F Manny Arop (6-6, Sr., 11.9); F Justin Gant (6-8, Jr., 10.9) and F Demetrius Moore (6-7, Jr., 5.1) are possible starters. G Khristian Smith (6-6, So., 10.4), G Devonte Brown (6-3, So., 6 ppg), C Jake Kitchell (6-10, Jr., 3 ppg), G Lucas Eitel (6-2, Sr., 2.3), F-G Brandon Burnett (6-6, So., 1.8) and F T.J. Bell (6-8, Fr., 0.8) are key reserves.
Coach — Greg Lansing (70-48 at ISU, 4th year).
Loyola Ramblers (7-11, 2-4) — G Milton Doyle (6-4, Fr., 15.1), G Joe Crisman (6-4, Jr., 3.9), G Jeff White (6-1, So., 10.7), G-F Christian Thomas (6-5, Jr., 14.2) and C Cody Johnson (6-10, So., 3.3) are possible starters. G Devon Turk (6-4, So., 9.7), F Matt O'Leary (6-8, So., 5.5), F Nick Osborne (6-8, So., 4.7) and G London Dukubo (6-0, Jr., 0 ppg) are key reserves.
Coach — Porter Moser (29-50, 3rd year at Loyola; 134-151, 10th year overall).
Injuries and absences — For ISU, C Mike Samuels (foot) is out. F Justin Gant (foot) is questionable. G Jake Odum (knees) is probable.
Next — ISU plays host to Illinois State and Loyola plays host to Northern Iowa on Saturday.
— Todd Golden