WICHITA, Kan. —
Indiana State fans have come to expect point guard Jake Odum to shine in big games.
Forward Manny Arop has also earned the reputation as a big-game player.
But some of ISU’s finest moments in the 2013 season have come when Devonte Brown has been at his best. Tuesday’s 68-55 victory at No. 15 Wichita State was no exception.
Brown had 10 points for the Sycamores in their important Missouri Valley Conference victory, but his impact was felt well beyond his scoring total.
Brown also had productive games against Miami (nine points, five rebounds) and ISU’s Dec. 30 win over Illinois State (12 points, seven rebounds), but he acknowledged that this was ISU’s biggest win yet.
“This is a big win for us in an atmosphere that’s just crazy. It’s so hard to win here. For us it was a battle – and it was definitely a battle, it was a war zone out there,” Brown said.
Brown was a menace to the Shockers on the defensive end. He made ISU’s rarely-used 2-3 zone work and lived up to his reputation as ISU’s best one-on-one defender when the Sycamores reverted to their familiar man-to-man sets.
“We threw off their pace on the offensive end and changed things up on them,” Brown said.
Brown was the unquestioned ignitor in ISU’s 17-3 first-half run that gave the Sycamores an 11-point halftime lead the Shockers never overcame.
With WSU leading 25-24 with 3:47 left in the half, Brown drove the lane and converted a traditional three-point play to put ISU in front. The redshirt freshman then converted another layup to put ISU up 29-25.
“Devonte was a key in the first half. He was terrific,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
“The first two three’s of the game [WSU made] were my fault, so I had to give it back in some way. We broke their press and I was able to get in lanes,” Brown said.
He saved the best for last. He stole a Demetric Williams pass on the next possession. He bided his time in transition, but elected to drive the lane himself. Using a spin move in lane, Brown converted a circus reverse layup to put ISU up six.
The crazy conversion would make ESPN’s SportsCenter’s top 10 plays, but more importantly, it gave the Sycamores what they needed to finish the half on a high.
“It felt good about it. I spun and I thought I was fouled, but I had to keep going through the contact. All I know was that I was coming out if I missed it, so I had tremendous focus on that layup,” Brown said.
• Art of the zone – ISU has practiced a zone all season long. Lansing has often been heard during games asking his coaching staff whether ISU should go zone.
But Lansing never pulled the trigger. On Tuesday, the Sycamores’ unveiling of their 2-3 zone delivered a double-blow to the Shockers. It had the intended effect of forcing WSU into jump shots and slowing tempo … and it also had the element of surprise.
“Every game we’ve gone into we thought we might use it for a few possessions here and there. Lou [Gudino, Associate Head Coach] thought it would be a great idea to switch things up on them,” Lansing said.
Lansing explained that the Sycamores would go into their zone after ISU made shots. That proved to be often as ISU made 60 percent of its first half shots.
“On a miss, we’d be man-to-man. On makes, we were zone. The guys really followed it,” Lansing said.
ISU played little zone in the second half, but the discombobulation of the Shockers had already been achieved.
“They forced us to shoot outside,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “They sagged in and really took the inside away. When we got it inside, we couldn’t finish. We were 7-for-31 inside the arc.”
The down side of the zone was that WSU snared 19 offensive rebounds, even though ISU had a 35-34 overall rebounding edge. But ISU’s 53.3 percent shooting and WSU’s 27.1 percent counter-acted the Shockers’ dominance on the offensive glass.
While it hasn’t been seen this season, ISU has used a zone in the past under Lansing to throw teams off. One notable occurrence was on Feb. 9, 2011.
Down eight at Illinois State, ISU zoned the Redbirds and Illinois State failed to score a field goal in the final nine-plus minutes. The Sycamores won 56-46, a win which broke a five-game losing skid and which ultimately set ISU on the path for a NCAA Tournament appearance.
• Cummings shines in front of former teammates – ISU guard Dawon Cummings had perhaps his best all-around game with eight points on a 4-of-5 shooting performance.
What was gratifying to the Kansas City, Mo., native was that the coaching staff from Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College – Cummings’ former school – were on hand to see it. Coffeyville, located in the southeast corner of Kansas, is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Wichita.
“It felt good to play in front of my old coaching staff and some friends and family. It feel real good to get a W here,” Cummings said after the game.
Cummings hit one of the most important shots of the second half. His 3-pointer at the 15:50 mark broke a scoreless second-half ISU drought and briefly put the Sycamores up by seven.
“I didn’t know if we’d ever score again,” Lansing said. “Dawon’s got some guts. That was something coming into this game. I talked about guts and intestinal fortitude. Dawon hit a big shot.”
• Shockers at a loss – ISU’s zone threw the Shockers off their game, but WSU had questions beyond the defensive decision ISU surprised them with. The Shockers lamented the Sycamores’ ability to grab loose balls and 50/50 balls, and there were many of them in a physical contest.
“They would seem to make every play, no matter what end it was on. They seemed to get every loose ball tonight which bothered me. That doesn’t happen. It’s not just lucky bounces. I have to figure out why they were quicker to the ball and tougher to retrieve it,” Marshall said.
The most notable silenced Shocker was All-MVC forward Carl Hall. The senior came off the bench and scored just two points. He attempted just two shots and made neither of them.
“It wasn’t frustrating,” Hall insisted. “When teams take you away on the block. All you can do is offensive rebound. That’s what I could do to help my team out.”
Williams gave kudos to the Sycamores, not only for their zone, but for their interior defense. R.J. Mahurin, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell did a fine job on Hall and big man Cleanthony Early.
“They did a good job taking us out of our rhythm,” Williams said. “They didn’t let us dominate the paint. Their zone made us struggle. They made us be an outside team. We couldn’t get the ball much to Carl because they were double-teaming.”
• National notice – In addition to Brown’s SportsCenter appearance, the Sycamores’ win was a top trending topic Tuesday night on Twitter and grabbed the attention of national observers as well.
“HUGE win for Indiana State. One of the most impactful of the season by anyone, anywhere,” said ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi on Twitter.
“Indiana State has a NCAA-like resume as we enter February with a road win at Wichita State adding to neutral wins over Miami and Ole Miss,” said ESPN’s Andy Katz on Twitter.
The win vaulted the Sycamores back into the top 40 in the Ratings Percentage Index, putting them back in play for a NCAA at-large bid. ISU has defeated three ranked teams – none at home – and has beaten the top teams in the MVC (WSU) and ACC (Miami) along with the second-place team in the SEC (Ole Miss).
ISU broke WSU’s 19-game home-court win streak and won for just the eighth time in 38 tries at Koch Arena. It was ISU’s first win in Wichita since 2004.
Freshman guard provides spark for Sycamores
WICHITA, Kan. —
Indiana State fans have come to expect point guard Jake Odum to shine in big games.
- Indiana State University
Can Sycamores bounce back from rough 2013 season?
One week before Indiana State begins preseason practice, there really is only one fundamental question that the Sycamore program faces.
Can it win again?
ISU basketball trio earn national academic honors
A trio of Indiana State basketball student-athletes have been named to the 2013-14 National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court as announced by the national organization. Honored from Indiana State were Lucas Eitel, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell.
Metro roundup: Post 346 rallies past Rockville
Wayne Newton Post 346 scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to get past Rockville 6-3 in an American Legion baseball regional at Terre Haute North on Wednesday.
Memorable experience in Morocco for ISU soccer team could help team's growth
Coming off the best season in its history, the Indiana State women’s soccer team figures to have the experience to do even better in the upcoming fall season.
Or maybe that’s #TheExperience.
Metro: ISU graduate Johnson sixth in shot at Monaco
Indiana State graduate Felisha Johnson competed in her first International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League track and field meeting Friday, placing sixth in a shot put competition that featured six of the top seven throwers in the world for 2014.
MVC to shift women's basketball tournament to Moline, Ill.
The Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament will move 90 miles farther from Terre Haute beginning in 2016, the league announced Thursday.
Metro: ISU-IU football game to be on ESPNEWS
Indiana University announced Wednesday that the season opening game between Indiana State and IU will be played at noon on Sept. 30.
Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team
Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.
Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play
Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.
MVC Tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018
Missouri Valley Conference men's tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018.
Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers
Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.
Gardner staying sharp with Danville
This summer with the Danville Dans is a big one for Terre Haute native Cody Gardner, who wants to play a part in keeping Indiana State baseball successful in 2015.
The former Terre Haute North High School standout painfully sat and watched as a Division I transfer as ISU made its ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 35-win regular season.
Metro: ISU’s Wise starts out well in USATF championships
Indiana State sprinter Katie Wise advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters as she ran 11.42 seconds in the opening heat of the event Thursday evening at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.
ISU's Odum talks about agreeing to play for Pacers' summer-league team
No team selected him in the two-round NBA draft Thursday night, but Terre Haute native and four-year Indiana State basketball standout Jake Odum agreed Friday to play for the Indiana Pacers’ summer-league squad next month.
Steady success: ISU continued to climb ladder with one of its best overall seasons ever
First of all, if you’re an Indiana State fan, stand up and applaud. The Sycamores collectively went where only one Sycamore athletic department went before in 2013-14. ISU finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy standings. ISU recorded a score of 3.538, its highest in school history.
Jake Odum about to reach red letter date in his career
Terre Haute’s Jake Odum made a name, a reputation and a wonderful career for himself during his four seasons at Indiana State. If nothing else were to happen in his basketball life, he’ll always be one of the Sycamores’ all-time best.
Of course, Odum wants more. He wants to play in the NBA. Since ISU’s season concluded in late March, he’s been on a three-month quest to fulfill his dream.
Metro roundup: Odum to work out with Lakers
Terre Haute native and former Indiana State guard Jake Odum will have two more workouts before next Thursday’s NBA Draft. Odum will work out with the Los Angeles Lakers today. Odum will have a second workout with the Orlando Magic next week before the draft.
ISU takes balanced approach with newcomer Tre Bennett
Indiana State’s men’s basketball program recruited Tre Bennett to be its next starting point guard. Indiana State does not want to put too much pressure on Bennett in his first season.
Those two sentences seem to be a contradiction. But ISU’s coaches and Bennett himself are hoping there’s a third way, a path where he can ease into a role as a contributor without the pressure, at least right off the bat, of being “the man.”
New ISU coach Parker makes first impression
Indiana State assistant coach Terry Parker hasn’t had too much time to make a first impression.
Officially hired in late April, but identified as Dave Ragland’s replacement on Greg Lansing’s staff long before that, there haven’t been many team activities for Parker to take part in since he joined ISU’s staff from Utah Valley.
Greggmar Swift advances to NCAA hurdles final
Greggmar Swift advanced to the finals of the 110-meter hurdles to highlight Indiana State’s performances during day two of the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field.
ISU taking mix of veterans, underclassmen to NCAAs
With three sophomores among Indiana State’s record number of entrants heading to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, the Sycamores are in position to have athletes competing for a national title for at least a couple more seasons.
Katie Wise, in particular, has the potential to rack up multiple All-American accolades between now and the time she graduates in 2016.
Pair of Sycamores selected in Major League Baseball draft
Two Indiana State baseball players were chosen in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft Saturday.
Senior shortstop Tyler Wampler, a 2010 graduate of West Vigo High School, went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 17th round (519th overall) and junior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went to the San Diego Padres in the 27th round (807th overall).
Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts
The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.
Metro roundup: Rex opener postponed to today
The Terre Haute Rex grand opening has been pushed back to today due to Monday’s thunderstorms.
ISU baseball can't find lifeline
Indiana State ends NCAA regional with 0-2 mark as its season ends.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Hannahs strikes pitch perfect no-excuse, no-apology tone
ISU coach Mitch Hannahs strikes pitch perfect no-excuse, no-apology tone.
Despite loss, ISU's Keaffaber draws praise
Indiana State pitcher Ryan Keaffaber lost to Stanford in NCAA regional, but his effort was lauded.
Stanford's Quantrill controls Sycamores
ISU is beaten 8-1 by Stanford in NCAA Regional.
Indiana State finishes record second in MVC All-Sports Trophy race
On the strength of four Missouri Valley Conference Championships and five second place finishes, the Indiana State Sycamores achieved a school record by earning second place in the 2013-14 MVC All Sports Trophy race.
Prettyman describes committee experience as 'intense'
Ron Prettyman was on the NCAA baseball tournament selection committee. He shared his impressions.
- More Indiana State University Headlines
- Can Sycamores bounce back from rough 2013 season?