News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 28, 2013

Uneven Sycamores fall 63-62 to Tulsa

ISU falls to winless Golden Hurricane

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — Indiana State's 63-62 loss to winless Tulsa in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout on Wednesday came down to the last two possessions of the game, but in a way it didn't.

With ISU trying to win the game, Devonte Brown turned the ball over with two seconds left. This after Tulsa's James Woodard -- red-hot in the second half -- buried his fourth 3-pointer of the second half with 8 seconds left to provide the winning bucket for the Golden Hurricane.

So the game did turn on the last two trips down the floor, but ISU committed plenty of basketball sins inside Sullivan Arena long before that sequence, and it was the inability to put forth a 40-minute effort that had coach Greg Lansing and the Sycamores in knots.

"You have to deserve to win and we certainly didn't deserve to win that game," ISU coach Greg Lansing said. "It would've been a crime if we would've scored on that last possession because they certainly deserved to win the game."

The final play was a cruel fate for Brown, who was ISU's most potent contributor during the game. He scored a career-high 18 points, but he admitted that he made the wrong call on ISU's final play.

After Woodard's shot, the ball was in Brown's hands and he decided to drive the lane. He tried to dish it to Justin Gant in the post, but his pass was off and it resulted in a turnover.

"I made a bad decision. We had to get a shot up. I made the wrong read. I saw their five-man come over to help when I drove past their one-guard. I tried to throw it down to our five-man, but it was a bad read. I should have brought it back out to Odum and let him make a play or I had to get a shot up," Brown said.

ISU had a timeout, but Lansing said he didn't want to use it.

"I give Devonte a lot of credit for how hard he played and he did a lot of good things, but on that play, the ball needs to go to Jake [Odum]," Lansing said. "I don't want to call a timeout because they can switch defenses and do something different. Jake's made enough game-winning plays for us. That's usually the way we want to do it."

Brown was the only Sycamore to break double-digit scoring. ISU was outrebounded 38-27 and shot 68.2 percent from the line and 35 percent from 3-point range.

"We didn't come out with the will to win. We came out flat. It's embarrassing really. We didn't come all this way to lose this first game. It's a bad loss," Odum said. "Every one of us needs to look ourselves in the mirror and shake off our egos."

ISU (3-2) will next play Division II Alaska-Anchorage at 4 p.m. on Friday. The host Seawolves narrowly lost to TCU 73-70 in Wednesday's other first round contest.

ISU had trouble warming its engine to start. The Sycamores were turnover-prone -- ISU gave it away 10 times in the first half -- and their shots didn't fall.

Tulsa (1-4) took an early 13-6 lead, but the Golden Hurricane were plagued by the same turnover issues the Sycamores had trouble with. ISU pulled within two at 6:18, only to have Tulsa restore its seven-point advantage with 1:37 left in the half.

ISU controlled those final 1:37 and got itself back in the game. Odum was the catalyst with two consecutive layups to get ISU within three.

Dawon Cummings provided another jolt when he stole it from Pat Swilling Jr. and found Khristian Smith for an alley-oop dunk with 22 seconds left in the half. ISU's half-ending 6-0 run meant it trailed just 25-24 at the break, and given how poorly it played for the first 19 minutes, it was fortunate to just be down one.

"We set the tone at the start of the game. That was probably the worst 20 minutes we played all year. I thought our energy was poor. We were pointing the finger and making way too many excuses in the first half," Lansing said.

It seemed the last part of the first half provided the boost ISU needed to take the game away from the Golden Hurricane. ISU began the second half on a 10-5 run to take a 34-29 lead.

But ISU could not break away from Tulsa and the Golden Hurricane stayed at arm's length the rest of the way. ISU had trouble attacking Tulsa's 2-3 zone when the Golden Hurricane tried to employ it. Aside from Brown, who had 12 points in the second half, no one Sycamore got untracked.

"We didn't put it together. We played in spurts and you're not going to win any game playing in spurts. We have to put it together for a good 40 minutes and we didn't do it," Brown said.

The storm clouds gathered when Tulsa hit a spate of 3-pointers starting at the 9-minute mark. A three by Tulsa big man D'Andre Wright could be brushed off as a fortunate shot, but when Woodard drained three in four tries in just over a one-minute span, it portended trouble for the Sycamores. The last of his threes gave Tulsa a 49-48 lead.

Tulsa took a 52-49 lead, but ISU rebounded. Brown converted a traditional three-point play to tie it at 4:31 and Manny Arop drained a 3-pointer at 3:49 to put ISU in front 55-52. ISU led by three as late as the 51-second mark when Brown made a pair of free throws.

"We had a couple of spurts of good play and when we did, we quit playing," Lansing said. "We kept telling them in the huddle that they weren't going to quit."

But Woodard was not going to be denied. He had converted a layup at 1:22 and made a tough 15-footer over Brown with 25.3 left to pull the Golden Hurricane within a point.

Brown made one of two at the line with 22 seconds left and it gave Woodard a chance to put ISU to the sword. He did it with 8 seconds left as he drained a 3-pointer from the left side.

Woodard scored 20 of his 24 in the second half.

"We're up a couple and a guy who made three three's in the second half, we fall asleep and let him make another three," Lansing said.

"It's been the same thing. Two guys ran at a cutter, two guys switched to the ball instead of communicating earlier," he added. "I'm over there screaming my brains out. The guys on the floor need to talk better and we need to play better."

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