WICHITA, KAN. — Defeat the first-place team in the Atlantic Coast Conference? Check.
Defeat the first-place team in the Southeastern Conference entering play on Tuesday? Check.
But even after a nonconference season in which unfancied Indiana State defeated Miami and Mississippi, many observers stood on the sideline waiting for the Sycamores to get a similar victory in Missouri Valley Conference play before they saw fit to declare them a legitimate MVC title threat.
The wait is over.
Wave after wave of pressure from No. 15 Wichita State broke on the Sycamores' rocks and ISU also survived Koch Arena's wall of noise to post a 68-55 victory that gave ISU a road victory over the first-place team in the MVC.
"The teams in Hawaii [at the Diamond Head Classic] were pretty good too. Ole Miss, San Diego [State] and Miami were really good. The difference is that these guys were playing in front of their crowd ... the best crowd in the country," ISU forward Manny Arop said.
ISU beat its first ranked opponent since a 2011 victory over Vanderbilt. More important, ISU moved to 7-3 in the MVC, just one game behind the Shockers. ISU is a half-game behind second-place Creighton.
ISU (13-6, 7-3) used a 17-3 end-of-first half run and a 14-3 run to end the game to earn its biggest MVC road victory in several seasons.
Arop led ISU with 17 points. Devonte Brown and Jake Odum each had 10 points.
ISU thought outside the box to get the victory. ISU implemented a 2-3 zone for the first time this season, which forced the Shockers to rely on jump shots, which is not WSU’s forte. WSU made 9 of 28 from 3-point range and shot 27.1 percent overall.
"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. On a miss, we'd be man-to-man. On makes, we were zone. The guys really followed it," Lansing said.