TERRE HAUTE —
“O beautiful, for spacious skies … for amber waves of grain.
“For purple mountain majesties … above the fruited plain …”
Those famous lyrics became less a declaration of America’s beauty than a commentary on the torturous journey Indiana State’s men’s basketball team unwillingly embarked on to get home from Hawaii.
The Sycamores saw nearly everything America has to offer in their return trip from the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Or at least, they flew over most of it.
The Sycamores literally went from sea-to-shining sea in a snow-distorted odyssey that took them from Polynesia to Philadelphia and several points in-between.
After it was over, it’s highly doubtful at the end of it that they felt God had shed his grace on thee.
HNL-PHX-PHL-ORD. Those aren’t airport abbreviations as much as code for how hellish things were for ISU as they tried to get back to snowy Indiana.
“It was a tough deal. There’s no question,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
It was already going to be a challenge to be fresh for today’s Missouri Valley Conference opener against Illinois State hot on the heels of a Hawaii trip. The travel nightmare the Sycamores suffered to get home added an unwelcome degree of difficulty to the proceedings.
“It was a long couple of days and a long couple of nights of travel. We were prepared [for delays], but it was a little worse than expected,” ISU guard Lucas Eitel said.
ISU’s plan leaving Hawaii was to catch a Tuesday night US Airways red-eye flight out of Honolulu, connect via Phoenix, Ariz., and return to Indianapolis on Wednesday morning.
Tuesday night’s snow storm that left Terre Haute mostly spared, but hit the rest of Indiana hard threw those plans completely out the window.
ISU got to Phoenix, but by then, ISU’s flight to Indianapolis had been canceled. ISU was then flown to US Airways eastern hub in Philadelphia with the hope that it could get on a flight to a still-open Indy airport.
No dice. After the long flight from Phoenix to the city of Brotherly Love, ISU landed to find out that the Indianapolis airport was closed. They had the choice to bus home to Terre Haute from Philadelphia — a 12-hour trip — or spend the night in Philly, fly to Chicago the next day, and bus to Terre Haute.
The Sycamores chose the latter and finally got back to Terre Haute around 2 p.m. on Thursday.
“At one point, we were traveling for 22 hours straight. It was a long ordeal and it was awful difficult on the guys. You play three games in four days and throw travel on top of that? Your body is messed up,” Lansing said.
Lansing consulted Butler coach Brad Stevens and Creighton coach Greg McDermott (who had a miserable travel experience when he was at Iowa State) for advice on how to handle the situation.
ISU did its best to minimize the hit from the travel woes. Practices on Friday and Saturday were light.
“We don’t want to use the travel as an excuse, but we went light the last couple of days. I think we all felt good [on Saturday] and we’ll be ready to play,” Eitel said.
The bad travel experience couldn’t come at a worse time. ISU will play three MVC games this week starting today against the cream of the conference.
Illinois State, today’s foe, was picked second in the preseason poll. Northern Iowa, Wednesday’s road opponent, was picked third. The week finishes with a trip to preseason favorite Creighton on Saturday.
The Redbirds (9-3) have a familiar cast of characters. Big man Jackie Carmichael is a four-year regular. Guard Tyler Brown has been a standout in the last two seasons. Jon Ekey provides veteran versatility. Bryant Allen, Johnny Hill and John Wilkins are all experienced.
The significant change for Illinois State is that Dan Muller is the head coach. Former coach Tim Jankovich left the Redbirds to become the head coach-in-waiting under Larry Brown at SMU.
Muller has changed Illinois State’s look from their days under Jankovich. The Redbirds mostly lived up to their billing with losses to Northwestern, Louisville (a three-point road loss) and unbeaten Wyoming.
“They ran a lot of sets [with Jankovich]. They ran the Iverson screen across the top a lot and they don’t run that anymore. More than anything, they run transition. They don’t get in the half-court very much. They run-it-and-gun-it quick. Our transition defense will be important,” Eitel said.
ISU (7-4) will have center Justin Gant in its arsenal as the sophomore suffered his own ordeal in addition to the Sycamores’ travel woes. Gant was elbowed in the mouth during the second half of ISU’s 57-55 victory over Miami.
Half of Gant’s upper front tooth was broken off and flew across the lane for ESPN’s slow-motion cameras to record for excruciating posterity. Gant left the game against the Hurricanes and had to endure the pain of his broken tooth on ISU’s long trek home.
On Friday, Gant had a root canal. He is no longer in pain and will have his tooth capped later this month. He won’t have to wear any protective gear other than a mouthpiece in today’s game.
It’s important for ISU’s fortunes that Gant builds on his strong performance in Hawaii. He had a double-double against Mississippi in the first game and was an aggressive presence in the paint against San Diego State and Miami prior to his injury.
“The coaching staff did a great job preparing us for the games and getting us ready for their tendencies. We stepped up to the challenge and showed we can play. We need to do more of the same thing starting tomorrow,” Gant said.
ISU plays today in Hulman Center
TERRE HAUTE —
“O beautiful, for spacious skies … for amber waves of grain.
Indiana State baseball now one win from MVC Championship
Indiana State’s Wednesday morning wish list probably read something like this: a dominant complete game effort from starting pitcher Devin Moore, near-immaculate defense to support him, and a steady diet of clutch situational hitting from lineup spots one to nine.
Terre Haute's Mascari running 10,000 meters for chance to get to Hayward Field
Indiana State freshman and Terre Haute North graduate John Mascari is among the enormous group of Sycamores competing this weekend at the NCAA East Preliminary. The top 48 NCAA track and field competitors in each event on this half of the United States are narrowed down to 12 who will compete at the NCAA meet at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Manaea's shoulder causing him latest pain
Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea has battled through so many aches and pains during the 2013 season that it can be hard to discern the serious pain from the pain he pitches through.
ISU's Negele answers call in big way in wake of Manaea injury
When Indiana State starting pitcher Sean Manaea slumped on the mound in obvious pain after he took his warm-up pitches, red flags raised for ISU’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament hopes.
ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction
Indiana State’s baseball team has been waiting all season for its stars to align.
But this is the 2013 Sycamores, after all, and after a season in which seemingly little has gone right, it appears its stars will remain crossed at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU track sending record 22 to postseason
On the heels of their thrilling double victory at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships both the Indiana State men and women moved up in the national rankings which were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
ISU's athletic treasure trove
Think of every championship that Indiana State has won in each of its sports, past and present. Think of every tournament — postseason or regular season — which the Sycamores have claimed as their own.
Ort sets ISU RBI record in 16-7 win
Robby Ort celebrated his Indiana State baseball Senior Day on Saturday by becoming the Sycamores’ all-time leader in RBIs as ISU ended its regular season with a 16-7 win over Bradley at Bob Warn Field.
Bradley ends 16-game MVC losing streak against ISU
Momentum was the only thing riding on Indiana State’s baseball game against Bradley on Friday. With a five-game winning streak going, ISU wanted to keep the good vibes going into next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU couldn’t do it.
Behind 16 hits and Manaea's pitching, ISU beats Bradley
Indiana State’s baseball team rode a wild ride of emotion on Thursday.
First came the public announcement that Bob Warn Field would host the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Later, Sean Manaea’s availability to pitch ISU’s series opener against Bradley was in doubt.
Indiana State women add five transfers, including experienced D-I point guard
Indiana State coach Teri Moren believes the addition of five more newcomers to the program — in addition to the five who had already joined the program earlier this calendar year — will provide her coaching staff the athleticism and depth it needs to play a successful, up-tempo brand of basketball next season.
Metro roundup: Woods softball takes seventh in national tournament
The St. Mary-of-the-Woods softball team finished seventh in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association softball tournament on Tuesday at Firestone Stadium.
Metro Roundup: Indiana State’s Shakir Bell on Performance Awards watch list
College Football Performance Awards has announced its watch list for the 2013 CFPA FCS Running Back Award, and Indiana State’s Shakir Bell earned a spot on the list.
ISU baseball team builds on success with 14-2 rout
Indiana State’s baseball victory over Alcorn State on Friday would take on more meaning Saturday if the Sycamores could build momentum and pick up on the good work they did in Friday’s ninth-inning rally.
The Sycamores were aggressive from the opening inning at the plate and starting pitcher Devin Moore gave them eight valuable and effective innings on the mound as ISU defeated Alcorn State 14-2 at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a really good experience for everybody. It felt great to finally come out here and put some things together. It’s also really nice when your offense puts a lot of runs on the board,” Moore said.
Moore’s eight innings of work were as valuable as gold to an ISU team that is short on quality arms due to injury and ineffectiveness. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and one of the two runs he conceded was unearned.
Johnson, Lyke win MVC titles for ISU
Indiana State’s Felisha Johnson and Maurice Lyke were both crowned Missouri Valley Conference champions on Saturday during the MVC Track and Field Championships at Drake University.
ISU earns badly-needed win
Alcorn State’s baseball team might be ranked in the bottom 10 in RPI and Indiana State might have never lost to a Southwestern Athletic Conference team. So it wouldn’t appear that a quality win was in the offing when Alcorn State visited Bob Warn Field on Friday.
Metro roundup: RHIT’s Evans sets Div. III record in high jump
For the third time this season, Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans topped the NCAA Division III all-time national record in the outdoor high jump Friday night.
ISU’s Mascari and Hope win MVC track & field titles
Indiana State produced two champions during the opening day of action in the Missouri Valley Conference track and field championships Friday at Drake. Freshman John Mascari, a Terre Haute native, won the men’s 10,000-meter race and Nicole Hope won the women’s pole vault for the second time in three seasons.
ISU pole vault tradition continues with help from its author
Pole vault is track and field for the adrenaline junkie, Indiana State senior Nicole Hope proclaimed during a recent practice at Marks Field.
To catapult oneself about 14 feet into the air with a large $500 fiberglass pole on a daily basis is a risky endeavor.
“We have to be fearless. You can’t be afraid at all,” said Hope, who has also catapulted herself into the NCAA’s elite in the event, ranking 15th in the NCAA with her leap of 13-feet, 9 1/4.
Sycamores searching for answers after seventh loss in eight games
These are the bad times for the Indiana State baseball team.
The will is there for the Sycamores to pull out of their worst slump of the season, but the results are not. The suffering continued on Wednesday at Bob Warn Field as Eastern Illinois defeated ISU 5-3.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU men's track picked first in MVC Championships, women second
The Indiana State men’s track team has won the last two Missouri Valley Conference outdoor championships, but the women have not stood on the top podium since 1999.
That may change this year, but the Sycamores will face some stiff competition in their quest for the championships.
North grad Welker helps Whitson earn first NCAA bid as coach
Eastern Kentucky girls golf coach Mike Whitson, an alumnus of his employer, enjoyed his stay in Terre Haute as coach of Indiana State, where he started the women’s golf program.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman wins HCAC all-sports trophy
Rose-Hulman has won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s all-sports trophy for the fifth time in the past six year, the league announced Monday.
Rose tallied 66.5 points for its finishes in 11 men’s sports, just ahead of Franklin with 66. Hanover was third with 53 points.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman tennis falls in HCAC semifinal
Rose-Hulman’s hot streak in men’s tennis came to an end Saturday in the semifinal round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament at the West Indy Racquet Club.
Manaea fights off bad hip, wet weather to toss four innings
Mother Nature has been the bane of the Indiana State baseball team’s existence all season. Eight games wiped due to weather are a testament to that. So it was no surprise, though no less disappointing, when she didn’t deal Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea the greatest hand on Saturday as he tries to recover from a hip injury.
ISU track enjoys big night at IU's Billy Hayes Invitational
The Indiana State Sycamores either won or finished as the top collegian in 12 events, led by the record-breaking performance of senior Brandon Pounds at the 2013 Billy Hayes Invitational Friday at Indiana University.
Pounds broke his own school record to win the men’s hammer throw.
Lansing looking for more home games for next fall
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is looking for a few good games.
Home games that is.
The Sycamores have filled in most of the blanks in their nonconference schedule, but as ever, ISU coach Greg Lansing would like to visit the friendly confines of Hulman Center a bit more often.
Secret weapon: Kelsey Rosselli finishing Woods career with a bang
At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, reporting game results to the Tribune-Star after a win or a loss is not always a high priority.
So when one of its athletes enjoys an outstanding season, like senior Kelsey Rosselli is doing for the Pomeroys’ softball team in 2013, media publicity doesn’t always follow.
In fact, her efforts almost seem like a government secret.
Rosselli’s name might sound familiar to longtime Terre Haute softball followers because she was a standout for North High School, from where she graduated in 2009.
Since then, she’s helped The Woods finish runner-up in three straight U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national tournaments in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
ISU baseball gets back into rhythm with victory
Baseball is a rhythm game. With contests every day or five times a week in the case of many college programs, you have the chance to build on success or wallow in a slump.
Mother Nature took that rhythm away from Indiana State’s team last week. After a 7-1 loss to Indiana on April 24, ISU was supposed to play a three-game series at Tennessee-Martin, but it was wiped out by rain.
So the rhythm was disturbed, but perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing.
ISU was in a five-game losing streak before its unintended vacation and the Sycamores made a move in the right direction Wednesday with a 7-0 win over DePauw at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a disappointing weekend. We went all the way down to Tennessee and didn’t get to play. We sat around in the hotel room. We came here and it was still raining. It was nice to get out and see some live pitching,” ISU center fielder Landon Curry said.
Metro roundup: ISU hands out spring awards
The Indiana State University athletic community, along with family, friends and fans, paused Tuesday night to honor the spring sports teams at the Terre Haute Savings Bank Spring Sports Banquet.
Most of the ISU teams are still in competition with the baseball team having 13 games left of its regular-season schedule before beginning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament May 21, the softball team with just three games left of the docket this coming weekend against Southern Illinois and the track and field program with just one more meet before beginning its postseason events.
The ISU women’s golf team is the team that has ended at this time, with the group recording a sixth-place finish at the MVC championships one week ago.
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