CEDAR FALLS, Iowa —
Tests keep coming Indiana State’s way … and the Sycamores keep passing them.
The latest test for the men’s basketball team was a trip to Northern Iowa, the first road game of the Missouri Valley Conference season.
There were some nervous moments down the stretch, but the Sycamores held on for a 65-61 victory to move to 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
"I think about how hard we've worked and how determined we are. It's about guys stepping up at the right times. We're just grinding it out. That's been our theme since Hawaii," ISU center Jake Kitchell said.
The victory was ISU's third in a row and fifth in its last six contests. ISU is one of four 2-0 teams in the MVC. Bradley, Creighton and Wichita State are the others.
Justin Gant continued his strong play with 18 points. Gant was 8 of 12 from the field and had six rebounds. UNI’s Seth Tuttle led all scorers with 24 points, but he had praise for Gant.
"He’s a tough player and his motor is always going. Those are the types of players you need to have to win and he got it done for them tonight," said Tuttle, who like Gant, is a sophomore.
Not everything went right for ISU, but the Sycamores made sure their runs stuck and made sure UNI never got the momentum needed for a comeback. ISU never trailed after the 1:53 mark in the first half.
"After what happened at Wichita State [UNI lost 66-41 on Sunday], we knew we'd get their best shot. They competed like crazy, they fought hard, but our guys found a way," ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
ISU (9-4, 2-0) bit their nails to the bone in the final minute as free throw woes kept the Sycamores from putting the Panthers away.
ISU had seemingly closed the deal when Odum was fouled by Tuttle with a second left in the shot clock at 1:32. Tuttle fouled out on the play and Odum drained both free throws to put ISU up 59-54.