News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 25, 2013

Sycamores lament lost opportunity at Illinois State

Craig Pearson
The Tribune-Star

BLOOMINGTON, ILL. — The Indiana State men’s basketball team had Illinois State in the type of game the Sycamores want.

The Redbirds shot 37.5 percent from the field, and the Sycamores won the battle on the glass 44-38 in a grind-it-out Missouri Valley Conference road game.

Jake Odum was definitely frustrated with the outcome. With Creighton’s loss at Drake, the Sycamores could have moved into a tie with the Bluejays for second place in the league.

“It's a lost opportunity,” Odum said. “It's gonna bite us in the bite later in the year. These road wins are hard to come by. When you feel like you've let one slip away, it’s tough to bounce back from that.”

MVC All-Conference forward Jackie Carmichael finished 4-of-12 from the field, and had just five points at halftime.

Despite all that, the result went to the Redbirds, 60-58, as Carmichael finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

As for defending Carmichael, R.J. Mahurin and Justin Gant did a good job of keeping him from catching the ball on the low block. But the big man got to the foul line for 13 of the Redbirds’ 30 attempts.

The 240-pounder does as good a job of getting there as any player in the country, as his 119 attempts tie him with Creighton’s Doug McDermott for tops in the Valley. But ISU could have done a better job of getting the ball out of his hands, Lansing said.

“He’s 4-for-12 from the field and that’s doing a good job, and he only got one offensive rebound so that’s a great job,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said. “What we didn’t do a good job of is fouling him. Our help just didn’t get there quick enough.”

ISU’s Manny Arop, who had only three of his 13 points in the last 15 minutes, credited the Redbirds for playing well at the defensive end, where Carmichael was also a big factor, blocking three shots.

“They played really well tonight. They played good defense to keep us off the line, played defense without fouling,” Arop said. “They came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They took it to us tonight. We’ve just got to go back and go back to what we do best, and that’s play harder than our opponent. That’s how we’ve been able to get our wins. Tonight, they outworked us.”

The Sycamores definitely persevered through not playing their best basketball, with Jake Odum’s 3-pointer putting them ahead 48-47 with 5:45 to go. Odum followed up his first field goal with his first assist — on an Arop 3-pointer — to help the Sycamores match their biggest lead of the game, 51-49.

Guard Johnny Hill, who had combined for two points in Illinois State’s last two games, scored two of his game-high 18 points to tie the score after an Odum layup. John Wilkins got his fourth offensive board of the game with a tip-in to give the Redbirds’ the lead on their next possession.

“I didn't think we played well in the first half at all. I thought we played hard enough in the second half to win. When we got the lead, we couldn't get stops. I think there were a couple crucial times when they got offensive rebound baskets. Give them credit that's a good team,” Lansing said.

• Odum off the mark — Junior point guard Jake Odum had one of his worst games of the season, finishing with nine points, one assist and two turnovers.

He seemed to anticipate contact on a couple of early misses in the paint.

It was the third game of the MVC in which he had more turnovers than assists. His 3.7 assists per game during Valley play is nearly an assist below his career average. He ranks just 10th in the Valley  in assist-to-turnover ratio, as the Sycamores are seventh as a team in that department.

“I just wasn't finishing. I was getting to the hole. They just didn't fall for me. I kind of let that affect the rest of my play,” Odum said. “I had a couple turnovers that led to baskets on the other end. It started with me, being a leader on this team, I started a downhill effect for us at the beginning of the game.”