News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 24, 2012

VIDEO: ISU’s upset bid slips through turnover-prone fingers

HONOLULU — Indiana State point guard Jake Odum cut a forlorn figure outside the Sycamores’ locker room after a 62-55 loss to No. 18 San Diego State in men’s basketball Sunday evening.

Even though ISU pushed San Diego State and was competitive into the final minute of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic semifinal matchup, the Sycamores were in no mood for the glass-half-full perspective.

ISU matched the Aztecs in many ways, but the Sycamores rued the 17 turnovers they committed and felt they kept them from getting over the top.

“[Turnovers] fall on me. I have to take the blame for that. I had five turnovers today. Other guys were throwing the ball around and weren’t making the right passes and were doing the same thing. It cuts deep for me,” Odum said.

Mahurin led ISU (6-4) with 15 points. Manny Arop had 13 and Odum had 10. Jamaal Franklin led San Diego State with 19 points and 15 rebounds.

San Diego State (11-1) had a lot to do with ISU’s problems. The Aztecs -- particularly guard Xavier Thames, who had four steals — jumped into passing lanes and did a better job than most teams do in anticipating what Odum does on drives and dishes.

“The bottom line is that’s a really good team. They’re well put together and well-schooled on the defensive end. They fight. Our guys need to do a better job of executing when it’s tough,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.

But those turnovers … they hurt.

“We’re a motion team. That means motion. That means ball movement. That means man movement. We didn’t do that,” Lansing said.

“We’d throw to one person and stand around and watch. That person would dribble around and take a shot. The ball has to move against good defensive teams. We didn’t do a good enough job in the second half.”

ISU trailed 28-25 at halftime despite nine first-half giveaways. Despite three more to start the second half, the Aztecs couldn’t create a gap.

ISU pulled in front at 32-31 and again with 13:48 when Arop converted a leaner to put ISU up 36-35. Odum made a pair of free throws with 13 minutes to go to make it 38-35, ISU’s biggest lead.

But the tough and disciplined Aztecs’ defense — along with mistakes by the Sycamores — led to a fallow period where ISU failed to score on six trips (including two turnovers) and San Diego State retook the lead at 40-35.

ISU fought back to tie it twice and the Aztecs led 46-44 when Odum was called for an excessive foul (same effect as an intentional foul) on a breakaway by Aztecs guard Chase Tapley. He converted two free throws, and on the Aztecs’ possession after the free throws, he hit a 3-pointer to make it 51-44.

“That’s the rules, I guess. It was excessive contact. I didn’t do anything to try and hurt him. I wanted to make sure he didn’t get the easy two points, but that kind of hurt us. It was a turning point,” Odum said.

ISU didn’t fade and was within three with two minutes to go. ISU had a possession to get within one or tie it, but Arop was called for an offensive foul when he lost control on a drive into the lane with 1:31 left.

ISU needed a stop, but couldn’t get it, as Thames hit a 15-footer to put the Aztecs up 55-50. ISU would not get closer than four points for the remainder of the game.

“They made the plays down the stretch that we didn’t. It was a great team effort. We stuck our chin in the fight, but they made the plays,” Mahurin said.

ISU and San Diego State broke out of the gate at a lightning pace. The Aztecs proved from the jump ball that it could finish and create high-percentage scoring opportunities for scorers like Franklin, who had seven points when the Aztecs took a 15-11 lead.

The quick pace wouldn’t last.

Defense held sway the rest of the way. ISU began to have more success getting stops and limited second-chance opportunities. Open shots, many of which rimmed out in the first half, began to fall — notably 3-pointers by Arop and Mahurin. ISU closed the gap to 24-23 and trailed by three at halftime despite its nine turnovers against just two assists.

ISU will play either Miami or Arizona in the Diamond Head Classic third-place game at 7:30 p.m. EST Tuesday. The semifinal between the Hurricanes and Wildcats ended after the Tribune-Star’s news deadline.

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