News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 27, 2013

Indiana State gets a do-over against Belmont

Sycamores squandered 16-point halftime lead in first meeting

TERRE HAUTE — Teams don’t often get a re-do during the non-conference portion of a college basketball schedule.

Indiana State gets that rare opportunity today when Belmont visits at 1 p.m. today in Hulman Center. Of all of the games ISU has played that scream out for a re-do, ISU’s 96-95 loss at Belmont on Nov. 14 might shriek the loudest.

“It’s definitely been on our minds. All three losses have weighed on our minds, but this is the first team we get a chance to go back at a team we lost to. Everybody’s upbeat for us. We want to get that loss back,” ISU guard Devonte Brown said.

ISU (8-3) at its most extreme in that contest. The Sycamores shot 57.1 percent in the first half and piled up 49 points in the first half and enjoyed a 16-point halftime advantage.

The second half was the polar opposite, the Sycamores were sieve-like defensively as Belmont shot 65.6 percent after the break. The result was a whopping 63-point half for the Bruins and a one-point defeat.

Lessons obviously needed to be learned and the Sycamores haven’t forgotten how humbling that loss was. Just in case any of the Sycamores forgot about the loss, the final score was put on the Hulman Center scoreboard for the entirety of Friday’s practice.

Today’s game could serve as a litmus test as to what, if any, progress the Sycamores have made since.

“We let their drivers get a head of steam. We let [J.J.] Mann get going. We have to slow down their game. They like to speed us up. I think we learned from it and I think the coaching staff will adjust enough to slow it down too,” ISU point guard Jake Odum said.

It wasn’t just poor defense that ailed the Sycamores in the previous matchup.

“We gave them uncontested 3s and we had too many turnovers [15]. We turned it over and they got layups. We were bad in all areas,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.

The chess match comes when Belmont anticipates that ISU will make adjustments and makes adjustments of its own to counter ISU’s changes. Of course, it’s part of the ebb and flow of any game. How ISU bobs and weaves its way through those in-game changes will be crucial.

Odum thinks the Sycamores can get better in this department too.

“So far, we haven’t done too good of a job. Sometimes we’ve been stuck in a rut of being too mental with the game instead of letting our instincts play. That’s something we have to do this game,” Odum said.

Belmont (8-5) has had some high highs (a win at North Carolina after its win against ISU) since Nov. 14, but has lost four of its last five. Much of that slump can be attributed to the loss of point guard Reece Chamberlain due to an ankle injury. He missed six games, but returned last Saturday when Belmont lost 93-80 at Kentucky.

“The only struggles they’ve had is without their quarterback. Imagine us playing without Odum leading us. Chamberlain is really good. He’s tough and plays both ends,” said Lansing, who said he didn’t watch tape of Belmont’s Chamberlain-less games.

If ISU wins today, it would enter Missouri Valley Conference play next week with nine wins. It’s a standard that’s only been reached once (2011-12) in the last decade.

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A.J. Reed The University of Kentucky baseball team falls to Missouri 8-7 on Friday, April 11, 2014, at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

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