SPRINGFIELD, MO. —
Indiana State is a men’s basketball team that’s grown beyond its modest expectations.
The Sycamores played their way into a higher expectation bracket by clawing their way into first place in the Missouri Valley Conference last Saturday.
With those expectations re-calibrated, many had hoped the growing pains would stop and that ISU would rise to the challenge of a conference title run.
That didn’t happen Tuesday at Missouri State as ISU fell 67-65. The question of whether the Sycamores could handle being conference leaders was answered and it stung the Sycamores and ISU coach Greg Lansing.
“We’re a good team. We’re not a bunch of good individuals. Maybe they’ve done their own thing a little bit too much in the last couple of games. Maybe we’re not ready to compete for a regular-season championship, we’re probably not,” Lansing said.
The question of whether ISU was ready for conference contention was mentioned by Lansing to the team prior to Tuesday’s game.
“I told them, ‘You’re tied for first going into the game and are we ready? Are we ready to be one of those upper-tier teams?’ I know we’re a good team, but these are 18 to 22-year-old guys. I tell people who are disappointed with a loss like I am, ‘Sometimes you have a bad day at work.’ Sometimes you don’t do as well as you wanted to,” Lansing said.
ISU didn’t match Missouri State’s intensity until it mounted a comeback with just over four minutes to play. By then, the deficit, which had peaked at 14, made it too much of a hole for the Sycamores to emerge from.
It bothered the Sycamores that Missouri State afforded them the respect that ISU had earned as a conference leader with a strong effort against them. But when the time came to match the Bears’ effort, the Sycamores were left wanting.
“They were pushing it to us. They were taking good shots and getting good buckets. We just waited too long to respond to it. We didn’t put any force behind ourselves and didn’t push at it. We got it toward the end of the game, but we waited too long to do it,” ISU center Justin Gant said.
It’s another teaching moment for an ISU team that has played to the level of its competition all season long. It’s frustrating for the Sycamores that they continue to have to try and learn from losses.
But then, they call them growing “pains” for a reason.
“We keep thinking we’ve turned the corner. We had a good game against Creighton. We battled and beat Southern Illinois at home. Then we have another letdown. I’m not really sure what the problem is, but if you want to be a championship team, you can’t have letdowns like this on the road,” ISU point guard Jake Odum said.
Perhaps the desire to “turn the corner” is what’s hurting the Sycamores. On several occasions, when the team has felt its established itself, it suffers a loss that suggests otherwise.
“After the Creighton game, we maybe thought we were a little better than we were. We’ve had good practices and good preparation, but we haven’t taken it to the floor the way we need to,” Lansing said.
With four games left in MVC play, ISU (16-9, 9-5) is still alive in the conference championship race, even if it’s NCAA Tournament at-large possibilities suffered a significant blow.
ISU has road games left at Bradley and Evansville, along with home games against Wichita State and Drake. Each of those opponents presents a challenge the Sycamores must rise up to.
Lansing acknowledged that the Sycamores need to be more consistent, but he would not accept the notion that a loss at Missouri State should be considered a “bad loss” even if that’s how its perceived nationally.
“This isn’t a bad loss. [Missouri State] is a good basketball team and a very well-coached basketball team,” Lansing said. “We lost at Southern Illinois, we lost at Drake, we lost at Illinois State. Those are all good teams and they’ve shown it by beating other good teams.
“We’ve got nine wins in the league, we’re doing OK. But to contend for a championship, you have to be better night in and night out. I have to do a better job of getting these guys a little bit more locked in,” Lansing added.
INDIANA STATE (65) — Arop 5-7 2-2 15, Mahurin 3-8 3-4 9, Gant 3-6 0-0 7, Brown 1-4 0-0 2, Odum 7-16 6-6 21, Kitchell 0-2 2-2 2, Eitel 2-3 0-0 6, Cummings 1-5 0-0 3, Burnett 0-0 0-0 0, K.Smith 0-6 0-0 0. 22-57 FG, 13-14 FT, 65 TP.
MISSOURI STATE (67) — Pickens 4-11 3-4 11, Thurman 2-8 2-2 6, Downing 2-8 3-4 8, Marshall 5-9 7-7 19, Scheer 2-4 2-5 8, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-1 1-2 1, Kirk 6-11 2-4 14. 21-52 FG, 20-28 FT, 67 TP.
Halftime score — MSU 29-28. 3-point shooting — ISU 8-20 (Arop 3-4, Eitel 2-3, Odum 1-4, Cummings 1-3, Gant 1-1, Mahurin 0-3, Brown 0-1, K.Smith 0-1), MSU 5-13 (Marshall 2-4, Scheer 2-3, Downing 1-4, Thurman 0-2). Rebounds — ISU 36 (Odum 9, Mahurin 8, K.Smith 4, Team 4, Arop 3, Gant 3, Brown 2, Cummings 2, Kitchell), MSU 32 (Pickens 9, Downing 8, Marshall 4, Scheer 4, Kirk 3, Thurman 2, Williams 2), Assists — ISU 11 (Odum 7, Brown, Kitchell, Cummings, K.Smith), MSU 11 (Downing 4, Marshall 2, Scheer 2, Pickens, Thurman, Williams), Steals — ISU 2 (Mahurin, K.Smith), MSU 5 (Pickens 2, Downing 2, Scheer), Blocks — ISU 7 (Odum 3, Brown 2, K.Smith 2, Kitchell), MSU 2 (Pickens, Marshall), Turnovers — ISU 11 (Odum 3, Brown 2, K.Smith 2, Arop, Kitchell, Eitel, Cummings), MSU 7 (Downing 3, Marshall 2, Scheer, Kirk), Total fouls — ISU 24, MSU 12. Fouled out — Cummings. Att. — 5,255.
Next — ISU (16-9, 9-5) plays at Bradley and Missouri State (8-18, 6-8) plays at Southern Illinois on Saturday.
SPRINGFIELD, MO. —
Indiana State is a men’s basketball team that’s grown beyond its modest expectations.
- Indiana State University
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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Indiana State loses 2 in MVC softball
Indiana State aspired to upset Illinois State to get at least a doubleheader split in Missouri Valley Conference softball Thursday at Price Field as the Sycamores opened an eight-game season-ending homestand.
Paige Schreiner hit a two-run blast over the left-field fence in the fifth inning and junior Shelby Wilson delivered a sizzling RBI triple down the right-field line in the sixth as ISU ended the day playing well against the league’s highest-scoring offense.
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It seemed so far-fetched.
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The Sun Belt is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision. Bowl football. Big boy football … and all it entails.
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Second City in the Valley: Loyola joins the MVC
For the first time in its history, the Missouri Valley Conference will have a home in the Second City.
The Chicago Tribune confirmed Saturday via a Loyola University source that the Ramblers will replace Creighton as the MVC’s 10th team. Loyola — a member of the Horizon League — will join the MVC effective July 1.
Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman — who was part of the MVC search committee that scouted potential replacements for Creighton — confirmed Sunday that the Ramblers were in the MVC loop.
Sycamore baseball holds off Creighton rally
By his own estimation, Indiana State baseball coach Rick Heller has been involved in close to 2,000 baseball games. If anyone has seen it all on the field, he’d be as good a candidate as any.
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A hip injury suffered by Indiana State ace starting pitcher Sean Manaea shuffled the Sycamores’ starting rotation for the second weekend running as it opened a Missouri Valley Conference home series against Creighton on Friday.
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In the immediate aftermath of a practice, game, or in Friday’s case for Indiana State, a scrimmage, most football coaches defer to the film to paint a true picture of what was and wasn’t done. ISU coach Mike Sanford is no different. With the flurry of activity on both sides of the ball, it’s hard to get a true evaluation of anything watching it live.
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The Indiana State softball offense is no juggernaut, but the fog may be clearing on a program that has had a long history of struggles with few signs of consistent winning.
Explosive, dedicated athletes like Morgan Allee and Megan Stone are two reasons to believe this group of Sycamores can spark a turnaround.
The Sycamores are scoring an average of 3.1 runs per game while also ranking in the middle of the Missouri Valley Conference pack in hits and batting average. But the Sycamores are on pace to break the school record for on-base percentage as they lead the MVC in walks, hit-by-pitches, sacrifice bunts and stolen bases.
Allee, with 17 regular-season games to go, broke the school record for stolen bases in a season Tuesday against IUPUI and is among the 10 best in the NCAA. Her total of 30 makes up almost half of ISU’s 74.
“I’m so big [that] they think I won’t go. It works out well,” the stocky shortstop said.
ISU’s QB battle
Quarterback battles come in all shapes and sizes, but one could forgive Indiana State’s Mike Perish, Robert Tonyan Jr. and Trent Lancaster if they feel a bit more beleaguered than your average signal-caller.
Not only is the trio fighting for the right to be named ISU’s starter by the Sycamores’ football opener Aug. 29 at Indiana University, but all three also are trying to learn a new offense, they’re acclimating themselves to new coach Mike Sanford’s different way of running things, and they’re trying to maintain harmony amongst each other, so whoever the ultimate winner is can effectively lead the team without angst.
All of it is playing out during ISU’s spring practice, and so far, none of the quarterback candidates have separated themselves from the pack.
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