News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 20, 2012

Lansing takes softer approach to Sycamores

Indiana State men facing Ball State tonight

Todd Golden
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing doesn’t hide displeasure well.

With a team composed of seven new players, Lansing has had plenty of opportunities to vent frustration at the inexperienced Sycamores.

But as 2-1 ISU prepares to play at Ball State tonight, Lansing has come around to the idea that maybe a softer touch is in order for this group of Sycamores. “I’m being too negative. I want them to be farther along than they are. I get frustrated at them and I think it’s taking the life out of them,” Lansing said Monday.

Lansing was displeased with ISU’s performance in its 70-57 victory over Division II Truman State on Saturday. He cited frustration with ISU’s preparation, his own coaching and the lack of improvement from one game to the next.

On Monday, Lansing said

“We’re making mistakes, we’re repeating mistakes, but we need to be more positive with them,” Lansing said. “We need to play with more energy and enthusiasm. They’ve been consistent with energy and enthusiasm in practice, we need to get more resilient in games.”

The Sycamores hope to improve at a place that is infamously unkind to them. Though the Sycamores led the all-time series against the Cardinals 69-57, ISU has lost 11 in a row in Muncie and has never won at Worthen Arena, which opened in 1991. ISU’s last victory at Ball State was in 1986.

ISU’s last visit to Muncie was forgettable. The Sycamores lost 75-60 in which ISU had 26 turnovers. But most players on both sides are gone.

Like ISU, Ball State (2-0) has an inexperienced team, with 10 newcomers. Junior guard Jesse Berry (14.5) and senior guard Jauwan Scaife (9 ppg) are the only Cardinals with significant experience. Forward Majok Majok (14 ppg, 9.5 rpg) — a junior college transfer — has been productive in wins over Grambling and Wofford.

ISU at Ball State

Tipoff — 7 p.m. today at Worthen Arena, Muncie.

Broadcasts — Radio: WIBQ-FM (98.5). Twitter: @TribStarTodd.

Last time out — ISU defeated Truman State 70-57 on Saturday. Ball State beat Wofford 66-61 on Friday.

Series — ISU leads 69-57. ISU won last year at Hulman Center, but hasn’t won in Muncie since 1986.

The players

Indiana State Sycamores (2-1) — G Jake Odum (6-4, Jr, 12.6 ppg, 4 apg), G Dawon Cummings (6-4, Jr., 6 ppg), G-F Manny Arop (6-6, Jr., 7 ppg); F Justin Gant (6-8, So., 11.3 ppg, 6 rpg) and C Jake Kitchell (6-10, Sr., 3.3) are possible starters. F R.J. Mahurin (6-9, Jr., 10.3), G Lucas Eitel (6-2, So., 5 ppg), G Khristian Smith (6-6, Fr., 7 ppg, 4 rpg), G Devonte Brown (6-3, Fr., 2.3), F Rhett Smith (6-7, Fr., 0 ppg), G Brandon Burnett (6-6, Fr., 0 ppg) and F T.J. Bell (6-8, Fr.) are key reserves.

Coach — Greg Lansing (40-30 at ISU, 3rd year).

Ball State Cardinals (2-0) — G Jesse Berry (6-2, Jr., 14.5 ppg), G Jauwan Scaife (6-2, Sr., 9 ppg, 3 apg), F Chris Bond (6-4, Jr., 8.5), F Majok Majok (6-8, Jr., 14 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and C Zach Fields (6-10, Sr., 7.5, 6.5 rpg) are the possible starters. G Marcus Posley (6-0, Fr., 6 ppg), F Bo Calhoun (6-5, Fr., 4 ppg), G Michael Ramey (6-4, Fr., 6.5) and F Matt Kamieniecki (6-8, Jr., 2 ppg) are key reserves.

Coach — Billy Taylor (71-74, 6th season at BSU, 152-153, 11th season overall).

Injuries and absences — For ISU, F R.J. Mahurin (knee) is questionable.

Next games — ISU plays host to High Point and Ball State plays at Indiana Sunday.

— Todd Golden