TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum has performed countless acts of derring-do to pull the Sycamores out of the fire during his three-year career.
Odum gave the Sycamores a helping hand again on Saturday against Northern Iowa, or more accurately, a helping elbow.
With time running out and ISU down one, Odum unleashed a last-second, 26-foot heave that landed well off the mark. But ISU wasn’t dead. UNI forward Jake Koch swiped at Odum’s elbow as he shot the ball and the foul was called with .3 seconds left.
Odum made two of the three free throws to lift the Sycamores to a dramatic 59-58 victory in front of 6,554 at Hulman Center.
ISU’s victory lifted it to 6-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Sycamores (13-7 overall) remained in third place in the MVC and earned a season sweep over the Panthers, which could prove crucial if tiebreakers come into play for the MVC Tournament in March.
Odum, per usual, was huge for the Sycamores. He had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Anthony James led UNI with 15 points.
The final play was not without controversy, but it was certainly filled with heartache for the Panthers.
ISU led 57-54 going into the final minute. A pair of James free throws pulled UNI within one and then the Panthers defended ISU effectively on the next possession and forced a Lucas Eitel turnover with 17 seconds left.
James then hit a very difficult and well-defended off-balance hook to the right of the lane to give UNI a 58-57 lead with 4 seconds left. It appeared UNI was destined for a morale-lifting victory.
Justin Gant inbounded to Odum with 3.3 seconds left. Odum was guarded by James and shadowed by Koch. Odum caught the ball facing UNI’s basket, but James over-committed on the pass. Odum dribbled past him and closed in on the 3-point arc with Koch chasing to Odum’s right.
“Jake [Koch] was going to be behind him with the way we had it set up. We were hoping to have [James] in front of him to make him take time to move it up the floor. With a one-point lead, it’s tricky. [Odum’s] got enough size that you don’t want to foul him,” UNI coach Ben Jacobson said.
Koch was parallel to Odum when the shot was taken. Koch reached over his own body and swiped at Odum with his right arm. There appeared to be contact on Odum’s elbow and official Eric Curry immediately made the call to put Odum at the line for three shots with :00.3 left.
Replays were inconclusive as to how significant the contact was, but Odum had no doubts.
“We were going to call a timeout at half-court, but they let me drive it and I went with it. Their guy came from behind and hit me on the arm,” Odum said.
Was Odum expecting to get the call on a last-second, bang-bang play?
“I was going to make [the 3-point shot] if he didn’t foul me,” Odum joked. “It was fortunate that they saw the foul and that it happened that way for us.”
Odum missed the first free throw, but drained the next two to put ISU in front by a point.
“R.J. [Mahurin] said, ‘I can’t look.’ I told him, ‘I’m looking. He’s going to hit at least one of them and we’re in overtime at worst,’” ISU forward Manny Arop said. “I have complete faith in Jake. He’s hit so many big shots for us. He’s our leader and we wouldn’t want anyone else at the line.”
Tuttle’s desperation tip at the buzzer was off-the-mark.
Had ISU lost, it would have been equally heartbreaking for the Sycamores, who fought back in the final 10 minutes to take the lead after a languid first 30 minutes. ISU trailed 39-32 with just over 10 minutes to play when the Sycamores got their offense untracked.
R.J. Mahurin, who had his best scoring game since ISU’s December Hawaii trip with 14 points, scored seven in succession to cut UNI’s lead to two by the 7:53 mark. An alley oop dunk by Gant tied it at 44 with 7:25 left.
A 5-0 UNI run restored its lead, but ISU countered with a 7-0 run to take a 53-51 lead with 4:34 left on an Arop 8-footer. ISU – which shot 63.2 percent in the second half – maintained its advantage until James’ late conversion with 4 seconds left.
In the final 10 minutes, ISU scored on 12 of its 18 trips down the floor. Prior to that, ISU had converted on just 14 of its 38 trips. It took time for the Sycamores to figure out how best to attack a solid UNI defense. The antidote came when ISU started attacking the basket with more vigor.
“[UNI] is hard to score and play against. We didn’t get to the free throw line and we had to be more patient,” said ISU coach Greg Lansing.
“They’re so well-prepared defensively that you can’t just make one pass or drive down and score. You’re going to have to move the ball and get it sideline-to-sideline and get it in and out of the paint,” he added.
As one might expect against UNI, the game was played at a low-register, low-possession gait. The lead changed hands eight times in the first half as neither team could muster a run.
ISU had leads of 14-12 and 16-15, but failed on multiple occasions to build on the advantages. A dependence on jump-shooting – at the expense of driving to the basket – and general offensive lack of execution played a large part.
UNI (11-10, 4-5) didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and took the lead on a Matt Bohannon 3-pointer at 5:27. A 7-0 Panthers’ run made it 22-16.
Odum came to the rescue and scored the last seven points of the half for ISU to keep it close as UNI had a 27-23 halftime advantage.
ISU caught up to the tie the game early in the second half, but a 9-2 UNI run in a low-tempo game helped the Panthers take a 37-30 lead with 13:54 left. UNI had multiple chances to build on its lead, but couldn’t, which gave ISU the opening to mount a comeback.
ISU begins a key two-game road swing on Tuesday with a game at first-place Wichita State. A trip to Drake follows next Saturday before ISU returns home to face Creighton on Feb. 6.
NORTHERN IOWA (58) – Tuttle 4-8 4-5 12, Koch 4-9 1-3 13, Mitchell 3-5 2-2 10, Sonnen 2-5 0-0 5, James 5-11 4-4 15, Rank 0-2 0-0 0, Bohannon 1-3 0-0 3, Buss 0-0 0-0 0, Martino 0-1 0-0 0. 19-44 FG, 11-14 FT, 58 TP.
INDIANA STATE (59) – Arop 4-8 0-0 10, Mahurin 4-9 4-4 14, Gant 3-6 0-0 6, Brown 2-4 0-0 4, Odum 5-9 6-7 16, Kitchell 2-3 0-0 4, Eitel 0-1 0-0 0, Cummings 1-3 0-0 3, K. Smith 1-4 0-0 2. 22-47 FG, 10-11 FT, 59 TP.
Halftime score – UNI 27-23. 3-point goals – UNI 9-19 (Koch 4-6, Mitchell 2-2, James 1-3, Bohannon 1-3, Rank 0-2, Tuttle 0-1, Martino 0-1), ISU 5-16 (Arop 2-5, Mahurin 2-2, Cummings 1-2, Brown 0-2, K. Smith 0-2, Gant 0-1, Odum 0-1, Eitel 0-1). Rebounds – UNI 24 (Tuttle 5, Koch 4, Sonnen 4, James 3, Bohannon 2, Team 2, Mitchell, Rank, Buss, Martino), ISU 27 (Odum 7, Arop 4, Mahurin 4, Kitchell 3, Cummings 3, Brown 2, Eitel 2, Gant, Team), Assists – UNI 12 (Mitchell 4, Koch 2, James 2, Tuttle, Sonnen, Rank, Martino), ISU 14 (Odum 5, Gant 2, Eitel 2, Cummings 2, Arop, Mahurin, K. Smith), Steals – UNI 5 (Koch 2, Sonnen, James, Bohannon), ISU 4 (Arop, Brown, Odum, K. Smith), Blocks – UNI 1 (Koch), ISU 3 (Mahurin, Odum, Cummings), Turnovers – UNI 10 (Tuttle 3, James 3, Koch 2, Mitchell 2), ISU 11 (Arop 4, Brown 2, Odum 2, Eitel 2, Kitchell), Total fouls – UNI 16, ISU 17. A – 6554.
Next – ISU (13-7, 6-3) plays at Wichita State and UNI (11-10, 4-5) plays at Evansville on Tuesday.
TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum has performed countless acts of derring-do to pull the Sycamores out of the fire during his three-year career.
- Indiana State University
Etherington, Moore happy to be with ISU basketball
Not even two weeks into their college experience, Indiana State freshmen men’s basketball players Alex Etherington and Demetrius Moore stood sentinel as 115 kids ran around them collecting basketballs and getting autographs at the Greg Lansing Basketball Camp on Thursday.
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When I covered my first event of Indiana State’s 2012-13 season — ISU’s opening football game at Indiana — I was the first one in the press box at IU’s Memorial Stadium. I’m never the first one in the press box.
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What traits do head football coaches seek out when they hire position coaches?
Indiana State football coach Mike Sanford provided insight into that question as he hired former Southeast Louisiana head coach Mike Lucas to his staff Tuesday. Lucas will be the Sycamores’ defensive line coach.
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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.
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If you had to pick one word that would describe the 2013 Indiana State baseball season, it would have to be frustration.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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- Etherington, Moore happy to be with ISU basketball