TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State¹s men¹s basketball team plays three of its next four games at
home. With one look at that favorable schedule, someone like you or me
naturally thinks it¹s an opportunity for the Sycamores to cement their
status as one of the Missouri Valley Conference¹s top-half teams.
That¹s fine for you or me, but not so much for the Sycamores themselves.
They got burned thinking that way going into last Saturday¹s game at
Southern Illinois and the Salukis singed the Sycamores to the tune of a
The chastened Sycamores want to make sure that they learned the proper
lesson for the loss and don¹t make the same mistake twice. With 5-12
Missouri State set to roll into Hulman Center at 7 p.m. tonight, the
Sycamores will get the chance to make amends.
While Missouri State¹s overall record is poor ‹ the Bears failed to beat a
Division I team in the nonconference portion of their season ‹ it is the
poster-child of how no team in the MVC can be taken lightly. The Bears are
tied in fourth place in the MVC with ISU with a 3-2 league record. Southern
Illinois, Drake and Illinois State have all been humbled by the resurgent
So the point that ISU (10-6, 3-2) can¹t overlook anyone has been driven
home. The Sycamores knew they needed to hear it. Some players even admitted
the team suffered from overconfidence on the Carbondale trip.
³It¹s nice to have some games coming at home, but we can¹t look past this
game. We might have done that a bit at Southern Illinois, thinking that we
had a stretch of some easier games in the schedule, but it¹s not that way.
Each game in the Missouri Valley is a grind and each team can beat you and
that¹s what happened,² ISU point guard Jake Odum said.
³We might have taken [SIU] for granted and our focus factor was off. We¹re
making sure our focus is back on for this game and back to tMissouri State
at ISUhe way it was in Hawaii,² ISU guard Devonte Brown said.
Saying the focus is back and acting on it are two different things. Sunday¹s
practice was spent dissecting what went wrong at SIU, but then that game was
left behind so ISU could prepare for the Bears.
³We can lose every game for the rest of the year if we don¹t prepare the way
we had been preparing. We¹ve had some good wins against some quality
opponents, but we¹ve had some close wins too. These guys have worked hard. I
feel like we¹ve only been out-worked in two games ‹ at Morehead State and at
Southern,² ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
One of the keys for ISU is to let the loss have its place ‹ and to not
forget the lessons the team could take from it ‹ but also to not let the
loss become something deep-seated. It was, after all, just one loss in an
18-game MVC slate.
³That¹s more of a factor than people realize. Coach Lansing was really hard
on us for the first day and when we watched film. Once we got that out of
the way, we put that game behind us and turned our focus to Missouri State,²
Avoidance of turnovers along with better on-ball and help defense were the
primary points of emphasis ISU needed to correct from the SIU loss.
³Everyone had a self-assessment of what we did wrong in the game. That
happened in our next practice and that helped us out,² Brown said.
Missouri State went through a horrid nonconference season, but the Bears
have defended well (third in conference-only field goal defense), have
avoided turnovers (third in conference-only assist-to-turnover ratio) and
have shot the ball well from 3-point range (38.9 percent, also third in
³When you go through those tough times players begin to wonder, ŒCoach is
giving us all of this positive talk, but are we going to get some results?¹
We had to stay on the task at hand. We lost some early heartbreakers, but
stayed on task and showed them we have a chance to win some games, we have
to finish the deal,² said Missouri State coach Paul Lusk during Monday¹s MVC
Missouri State has also reaped the benefits of senior Anthony Downing¹s
strong MVC start. He¹s tied for fourth in conference-only points per game at
18.2 per contest.
Like ISU, Missouri State wants to regain its mojo after a weekend loss. The
Bears fell 74-52 at home on Friday against Creighton. It was a forgettable
game in that Creighton¹s Doug McDermott scored 39 against a depleted
Missouri State lineup that was missing starting guard Marcus Marshall, who
had a sprained ankle and the flu. Guard Dorrian Williams played, but was
also waylaid by the flu.
Both Bears are expected to play tonight.
Missouri State at ISU
Tipoff -- 7 p.m. today at Hulman Center.
Broadcasts --TV: WAWV-TV. Radio: WIBQ-FM (98.5). Twitter: @TribStarTodd.
Last time out -- ISU lost 76-71 at Southern Illinois last Saturday. Missouri
State lost 74-52 to Creighton last Friday.
Series -- Missouri State leads 37-21. The teams split the series last season
with each winning on the other¹s home floor.
Indiana State Sycamores (10-6, 3-2) -- G Jake Odum (6-4, Jr, 14.4, 4.8 rpg,
4.5 apg), G-F Manny Arop (6-6, Jr., 13 ppg, 5.5 rpg); F R.J. Mahurin (6-9,
Jr., 8.9) and F Justin Gant (6-8, So., 8.9, 5.5 rpg) are possible starters.
G Khristian Smith (6-6, Fr., 6.6), G Lucas Eitel (6-2, So., 5.4), G Dawon
Cummings (6-4, Jr., 4.5), G Devonte Brown (6-3, Fr., 3.2), C Jake Kitchell
(6-10, Sr., 2.9), G Brandon Burnett (6-6, Fr., 0.6) and F Rhett Smith (6-7,
Fr., 0 ppg) are key reserves.
Coach -- Greg Lansing (48-35 at ISU, 3rd year).
Missouri State Bears (5-12, 3-2) ‹ G Marcus Marshall (6-3, Fr., 10.1), G
Anthony Downing (6-1, Sr., 14.4, 3.9 rpg), G-F Keith Pickens (6-4, Jr., 5.3,
4.7 rpg), F Drew Wilson (6-7, Fr., 4.1) and F Christian Kirk (6-7, So., 8.4,
4.2 rpg) are the possible starters. F Gavis Thurman (6-6, Fr., 6 ppg), G
Dorrian Williams (6-2, Fr., 4.1), G-F Nate Scheer (6-5, Jr., 5.4), F Michael
Simpson (6-5, Fr., 2.2) and C Bruce Marshall (6-10, Fr., 1.4) are key
Coach -- Paul Lusk (21-28 at MSU, 2nd year, 23-51 overall, 3rd year).
Injuries and absences ‹ For ISU, C Mike Samuels (knee) is out. For MSU, F
Keith Pickens (hip) and G-F Nate Scheer (thigh) are probable.
Next games ‹ ISU plays host to Evansville and Missouri State plays at
Bradley on Saturday.
-- Todd Golden