News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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January 18, 2014

Sycamores' offense can't get out of neutral at Wichita

WICHITA, KAN. — Saturday’s Indiana State-Wichita State saw the MVC’s highest-scoring team (ISU) go head-to-head against the MVC’s stingiest defense (WSU).

It really did ... even if it didn’t seem like it in the wake of Wichita State’s 68-48 victory over the Sycamores.

ISU’s offense — which averaged 76.7 points entering the contest — sputtered badly. ISU shot 31.4 percent from the field and were 5 of 20 from 3-point range.

Dawon Cummings scored 19 to lead ISU, but he was the only player who took more than three shots that shot better than 33.3 percent from the field.

“I’m really disappointed in how we played. We’re not as bad as we looked. That’s the most selfish we’ve looked on the offensive end by far,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.

That selfishness might have first been evident early on as ISU’s offense seemed to be in a rush. The Sycamores didn’t penetrate the lane or reverse the ball as they normally do and settled for 3-point attempts that weren’t falling.

ISU shot 33.3 percent in the first half and only got to the line four times, all of those attempts came in the last minute of the half.

“Sometimes we took quick shots and it fueled their transition. Coach was harping on us, ‘Let’s get it moving’, but we were selfish and hard-headed. We thrive off getting the ball moving and swinging it out. We just weren’t doing it today,” Cummings said.

“We took a lot of perimeter shots to start the game. We didn’t attack the rim and we didn’t get them in foul trouble, which is one thing we wanted to do to start the game. We wanted to shoot a lot of free throws and attack the rim. We didn’t do that,” ISU forward Justin Gant said.

Gant and the rest of ISU’s bigs played poorly, especially at the start of the second half. ISU’s posts — Gant, Jake Kitchell and Demetrius Moore — combined to shoot 3 of 10 from the field. Moore was largely ineffectual due to foul trouble. Gant and Kitchell combined for five turnovers and had trouble handling passes from teammates and fumbled the ball away when they put it on the floor.

But all of ISU’s players had trouble finishing. Shots were tentative and short-armed up and down the line for the Sycamores.

“One of the keys for us was no soft finishes and I thought we finished soft,” Lansing said.

Part of the credit, of course, goes to the Shockers. As Saint Louis did in an 83-66 win over the Sycamores on Dec. 18, WSU took away Sycamores away from the ball with a vengence. If ISU picked up its dribble, it was in danger of having no option to go to.

WSU guard Tekele Cotton also flexed his considerable defensive muscle. The Shockers’ designed stopper guarded Jake Odum and took the ISU senior out of the contest. Odum had seven points, three assists and three turnovers. He made only 1 of 4 from the floor.

“[Odum] is certaintly the straw that stirs the drink as has been since 2004,” said WSU coach Gregg Marshall, jokingly overstating Odum’s actual service time with ISU which dates to 2010. “Tekele Cotton did a wonderful job on them. You have to guard him because he can strike you at any time.”

 

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