News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

November 29, 2013

Humbled Sycamores want to make amends

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — The disappointment undeniably exists, but the bottom line for Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is there’s nothing that can be done about its 63-62 loss to Tulsa late Wednesday night.

But the Sycamores want to remember it. They want to let the bad feeling they had simmer, but turn into something positive.

“The disappointing thing is we talked about not to let that team be more desperate and determined than we were,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said. “The point we tried to drive home today is to never get outworked. If they beat you, make them deserve to beat you.”

The Tulsa defeat scuttled its hopes of winning the Great Alaska Shootout, but ISU can still take a 2-1 record back home to Terre Haute and it starts with a 4 p.m. game today against Alaska-Anchorage, the host school, in Anchorage’s Sullivan Arena.

ISU’s Thanksgiving practice at Bartlett High School was tough. Five push-ups were done every time there wasn’t a five-man blockout. ISU’s coaches preached defense, defense, defense, especially on ball screens.

“The coaches do a great job of giving us a great plan. They give us all of the answers to the test. We have to do a better job of putting that gameplan to work,” ISU swingman Manny Arop said.

The Sycamores wanted to avoid the NCAA Division II Seawolves. UAA nearly got past Big 12 school TCU in Wednesday’s other first-round game, but fell apart in the final 30 seconds and lost 73-70 to the Horned Frogs. The game won’t count for ISU for RPI purposes, but a loss would be damaging.

The Seawolves (4-1) are ranked 19th in the latest Division II poll. UAA plays in the Great Northwest Conference, which counts Canadian school Simon Fraser and Montana State-Billings among its members. UAA plays up-tempo. The run-and-gun Seawolves average 82.7 points per game. More than 50 percent of their shot attempts come from 3-point range.

As one might expect, UAA has five Alaska natives in its ranks, including leading scorer Travis Thompson, a 6-foot-1 guard who gave TCU problems Wednesday. Guard Kyle Fossman, another Alaska native, has converted 45 percent of his 3-point shots.

Like most Division II teams, UAA isn’t blessed with size, but it will have a supportive crowd. ISU will be playing a true road game.

“They’re difficult to defend. It’s a little like Belmont where they try to push it in transition. They want to shoot a bunch of 3s. They’re awfully good. I know from back when I played Division II, they’re a good Division II program,” Lansing said.

After practice, the Sycamores had a Thanksgiving feast at Anchorage’s Buffalo Wild Wings, owned by Kevin and Gail O’Laughlin, who also own Charlie’s Pub and Grub in Terre Haute. The Sycamores’ mood was somber. They want to make amends and give a good showing the rest of the way.

“It hurts and it’s going to stick around for a while. Hopefully we can use the loss as motivation in the future,” Arop said.

ISU’s loss also proved costly to fans who wanted to watch the Sycamores on TV this week. None of ISU’s remaining games in the tournament will be televised.

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