It’s the only appropriate adjective to describe the length of the game, the circumstances that occurred within it, and the disappointment the Indiana State’s men’s basketball team had in losing it.
ISU came back from eight points down in one overtime, fought back in the final seconds of the second overtime, but couldn’t hold off Wichita State in a third overtime as the Shockers won 93-83 in a grueling and taut thriller in front of 10,506 volumnious fans at Koch Arena.
The final score didn’t do the Sycamores justice as ISU clawed and pecked its way against the Shockers throughout the game. So did WSU, which fought back from some deficits of its own.
The loss dropped ISU (12-8, 7-2) out of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference. ISU lamented the moments where it had a chance to put the Shockers away.
“Our guys fought to the very end. They gave everything they could. Obviously, we could have played a lot better. We could have won it. We should have won it at the end of regulation and probably the second overtime. You have to give Wichita State credit. They fought like crazy too. It was a great basketball game,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
Six players reached double-figure scoring for ISU. Aaron Carter led the way with 16 points. Carl Richard had 13 points. Jake Kelly, Dwayne Lathan and Jake Odum had 11 points and Myles Walker added 10.
Odum was crestfallen after the game, despite a 10-point, eight-assist, eight-rebound effort.
“It’s disappointing. We turned it over too much [ISU had 20 turnovers], we missed some free throws … I don’t know,” an emotional Odum said.
Odum was disappointed, but he was the key factor in getting ISU to overtime to begin with.
ISU was down 10 in the second half against the Shockers, but the Sycamores got back in it as Odum’s craftiness created scoring opportunities and made it hard for WSU to defend ISU. The Sycamores gradually came back and took a 51-50 lead with 9:52 left on a Carter 3-pointer.
ISU led 57-56 on an Odum layup with 1:23 left and had a chance to build on the lead when Odum missed the front end of a pair of free throws with :34.7 left. ISU missed three free throws in the last three minutes, including the front end of one-and-one’s twice.
It gave the Shockers just enough of an opening to pull even on a Durley post-up bucket with 23 seconds to go. Odum turned it over with 2 seconds remaining and the game went to overtime.
It appeared that WSU would blow the Sycamores out in the first OT. The Shockers made their first five field goals and surged to a 68-60 lead with 1:50 left in the overtime.
ISU was undaunted and got some help from the Shockers at the free-throw line. WSU missed five of its 10 free throws in the final two minutes of the first extra period. ISU was able to cut its deficit to two on a pair of Lathan free throws with 34.4 seconds remaining.
Then Odum worked his magic again. He jumped in front of a Graham Hatch inbounds pass, stole the ball, and as he leaped out of bounds, he called a timeout. After deliberation from the officials, it was granted and ISU had a possession to tie the game. The Sycamores did on a Kelly layup with 24 seconds left. Toure’ Murry missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the game went to double overtime.
ISU was the aggressor in the second OT. The Sycamores led 79-75, but the Shockers stayed alive thanks to a Ben Smith 3-pointer and a Garrett Stutz layup with 36 seconds left to put WSU up 80-79.
Once again, the Sycamores responded. Walker leaned for a layup to put ISU up 81-80 with 20 seconds to go. On WSU’s possession, Kelly reached in and fouled Murry in the corner with 8.8 seconds left and Kelly fouled out. Murry made just one of two free throws, tying the game at 81, but a well-defended Odum shot at the buzzer fell short.
ISU led 83-81 early in triple overtime. But the Sycamores were gassed, and without Kelly, couldn’t substitute at will. A pair of Durley free throws at 2:42 got WSU rolling. A Smith 3-pointer at 2:02, a Durley leaner at 1:21 and a Murry 15-footer with 29 seconds left made it 90-83 and put the Sycamores away.
“The clock just ran out on them. No one deserved to lose. [ISU] played a great game. Greg [Lansing] is doing a great job,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “We made some plays. We got the ball inside. Durley was able the ball a couple of times. But whoever made one more play than the other team was going to win. It was a great game from an entertainment standpoint, but torture on a coach my age.”
Respect wasn’t what ISU came to Wichita to get, but Carter took some solace in the fact that the Sycamores left it on the floor against the preseason conference favorites.
“We should have won, we had plenty of opportunities to win, but we showed toughness to fight back when we were down,” Carter said. “We hate to lose, but we showed we can play with the best of the league on the road. That’s what we can take from it.”
ISU next plays host to Evansville on Wednesday.