WICHITA, Kan. —
Indiana State fans have come to expect point guard Jake Odum to shine in big games.
Forward Manny Arop has also earned the reputation as a big-game player.
But some of ISU’s finest moments in the 2013 season have come when Devonte Brown has been at his best. Tuesday’s 68-55 victory at No. 15 Wichita State was no exception.
Brown had 10 points for the Sycamores in their important Missouri Valley Conference victory, but his impact was felt well beyond his scoring total.
Brown also had productive games against Miami (nine points, five rebounds) and ISU’s Dec. 30 win over Illinois State (12 points, seven rebounds), but he acknowledged that this was ISU’s biggest win yet.
“This is a big win for us in an atmosphere that’s just crazy. It’s so hard to win here. For us it was a battle – and it was definitely a battle, it was a war zone out there,” Brown said.
Brown was a menace to the Shockers on the defensive end. He made ISU’s rarely-used 2-3 zone work and lived up to his reputation as ISU’s best one-on-one defender when the Sycamores reverted to their familiar man-to-man sets.
“We threw off their pace on the offensive end and changed things up on them,” Brown said.
Brown was the unquestioned ignitor in ISU’s 17-3 first-half run that gave the Sycamores an 11-point halftime lead the Shockers never overcame.
With WSU leading 25-24 with 3:47 left in the half, Brown drove the lane and converted a traditional three-point play to put ISU in front. The redshirt freshman then converted another layup to put ISU up 29-25.
“Devonte was a key in the first half. He was terrific,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
“The first two three’s of the game [WSU made] were my fault, so I had to give it back in some way. We broke their press and I was able to get in lanes,” Brown said.
He saved the best for last. He stole a Demetric Williams pass on the next possession. He bided his time in transition, but elected to drive the lane himself. Using a spin move in lane, Brown converted a circus reverse layup to put ISU up six.
The crazy conversion would make ESPN’s SportsCenter’s top 10 plays, but more importantly, it gave the Sycamores what they needed to finish the half on a high.
“It felt good about it. I spun and I thought I was fouled, but I had to keep going through the contact. All I know was that I was coming out if I missed it, so I had tremendous focus on that layup,” Brown said.
• Art of the zone – ISU has practiced a zone all season long. Lansing has often been heard during games asking his coaching staff whether ISU should go zone.
But Lansing never pulled the trigger. On Tuesday, the Sycamores’ unveiling of their 2-3 zone delivered a double-blow to the Shockers. It had the intended effect of forcing WSU into jump shots and slowing tempo … and it also had the element of surprise.
“Every game we’ve gone into we thought we might use it for a few possessions here and there. Lou [Gudino, Associate Head Coach] thought it would be a great idea to switch things up on them,” Lansing said.
Lansing explained that the Sycamores would go into their zone after ISU made shots. That proved to be often as ISU made 60 percent of its first half shots.
“On a miss, we’d be man-to-man. On makes, we were zone. The guys really followed it,” Lansing said.
ISU played little zone in the second half, but the discombobulation of the Shockers had already been achieved.
“They forced us to shoot outside,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “They sagged in and really took the inside away. When we got it inside, we couldn’t finish. We were 7-for-31 inside the arc.”
The down side of the zone was that WSU snared 19 offensive rebounds, even though ISU had a 35-34 overall rebounding edge. But ISU’s 53.3 percent shooting and WSU’s 27.1 percent counter-acted the Shockers’ dominance on the offensive glass.
While it hasn’t been seen this season, ISU has used a zone in the past under Lansing to throw teams off. One notable occurrence was on Feb. 9, 2011.
Down eight at Illinois State, ISU zoned the Redbirds and Illinois State failed to score a field goal in the final nine-plus minutes. The Sycamores won 56-46, a win which broke a five-game losing skid and which ultimately set ISU on the path for a NCAA Tournament appearance.
• Cummings shines in front of former teammates – ISU guard Dawon Cummings had perhaps his best all-around game with eight points on a 4-of-5 shooting performance.
What was gratifying to the Kansas City, Mo., native was that the coaching staff from Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College – Cummings’ former school – were on hand to see it. Coffeyville, located in the southeast corner of Kansas, is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Wichita.
“It felt good to play in front of my old coaching staff and some friends and family. It feel real good to get a W here,” Cummings said after the game.
Cummings hit one of the most important shots of the second half. His 3-pointer at the 15:50 mark broke a scoreless second-half ISU drought and briefly put the Sycamores up by seven.
“I didn’t know if we’d ever score again,” Lansing said. “Dawon’s got some guts. That was something coming into this game. I talked about guts and intestinal fortitude. Dawon hit a big shot.”
• Shockers at a loss – ISU’s zone threw the Shockers off their game, but WSU had questions beyond the defensive decision ISU surprised them with. The Shockers lamented the Sycamores’ ability to grab loose balls and 50/50 balls, and there were many of them in a physical contest.
“They would seem to make every play, no matter what end it was on. They seemed to get every loose ball tonight which bothered me. That doesn’t happen. It’s not just lucky bounces. I have to figure out why they were quicker to the ball and tougher to retrieve it,” Marshall said.
The most notable silenced Shocker was All-MVC forward Carl Hall. The senior came off the bench and scored just two points. He attempted just two shots and made neither of them.
“It wasn’t frustrating,” Hall insisted. “When teams take you away on the block. All you can do is offensive rebound. That’s what I could do to help my team out.”
Williams gave kudos to the Sycamores, not only for their zone, but for their interior defense. R.J. Mahurin, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell did a fine job on Hall and big man Cleanthony Early.
“They did a good job taking us out of our rhythm,” Williams said. “They didn’t let us dominate the paint. Their zone made us struggle. They made us be an outside team. We couldn’t get the ball much to Carl because they were double-teaming.”
• National notice – In addition to Brown’s SportsCenter appearance, the Sycamores’ win was a top trending topic Tuesday night on Twitter and grabbed the attention of national observers as well.
“HUGE win for Indiana State. One of the most impactful of the season by anyone, anywhere,” said ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi on Twitter.
“Indiana State has a NCAA-like resume as we enter February with a road win at Wichita State adding to neutral wins over Miami and Ole Miss,” said ESPN’s Andy Katz on Twitter.
The win vaulted the Sycamores back into the top 40 in the Ratings Percentage Index, putting them back in play for a NCAA at-large bid. ISU has defeated three ranked teams – none at home – and has beaten the top teams in the MVC (WSU) and ACC (Miami) along with the second-place team in the SEC (Ole Miss).
ISU broke WSU’s 19-game home-court win streak and won for just the eighth time in 38 tries at Koch Arena. It was ISU’s first win in Wichita since 2004.
INDIANA STATE (68) – Arop 7-11 2-5 17, Gant 2-2 2-2 6, Brown 4-6 2-3 10, Odum 2-7 6-6 10, Mahurin 3-8 1-1 8, Kitchell 1-1 0-0 2, Eitel 0-1 0-0 0, Cummings 4-5 0-0 9, K. Smith 1-4 4-4 6. 24-45 FG, 17-21 FT, 68 TP.
WICHITA STATE (53) – Armstead 2-11 0-0 5, Williams 4-14 4-4 14, Early 3-10 7-10 15, Orupke 0-2 0-1 0, Cotton 3-8 0-0 8, Wiggins 1-4 0-0 2, Hall 0-2 2-2 2, VanVleet 3-5 1-2 9, White 0-3 0-0 0. 16-59 FG, 14-19 FT, 53 TP.
Halftime score – ISU 39-28. 3-point goals – ISU 3-11 (Mahurin 1-4, Arop 1-3, Cummings 1-1, Eitel 0-1), WSU 9-28 (Williams 2-7, Early 2-6, Cotton 2-4, VanVleet 2-3, Armstead 1-8). Rebounds – ISU 35 (Arop 6, Team 6, Gant 4, Mahurin 4, Brown 3, Eitel 3, K. Smith 3, Odum 2, Kitchell 2, Cummings 2), WSU 34 (Early 11, Orupke 6, Hall 6, Armstead 3, Cotton 2, Wiggins 2, White 2, VanVleet 1, Team), Assists – ISU 5 (Odum 4, Kitchell), WSU 10 (Armstead 4, Williams 2, VanVleet 2, Early, Hall), Steals – ISU 7 (Arop 2, Brown 2, Gant, Mahurin, K. Smith), WSU 5 (Armstead 2, Williams, Early, Orupke), Blocks – ISU 3 (Mahruin, Kitchell, K. Smith), WSU 2 (Early, Orupke), Turnovers – ISU 15 (Gant 3, Brown 3, Cummings 3, Kitchell 2, Arop, Odum, Eitel, K. Smith), WSU 11 (Armstead 3, Williams 2, Cotton 2, Orupke, Hall, VanVleet, White), Total fouls – ISU 17, WSU 17. A – 10,216.
Next – ISU (13-6, 7-3) plays at Drake and Wichita State (19-4, 8-2) plays at Northern Iowa on Saturday.
Freshman guard provides spark for Sycamores
WICHITA, Kan. —
Indiana State fans have come to expect point guard Jake Odum to shine in big games.
- 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.
ISU sending largest group yet 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.
Indiana State to host 2014 MVC baseball tourney
Build it… and they will come. The Missouri Valley Conference and Indiana State University made that famous line from the movie “Fields Of Dreams” reality Thursday.
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.
TODD GOLDEN: Don't give up on ISU baseball just yet
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.
The result was still a 5-3 loss to the Redbirds (26-18, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference) as freshman Halle Humphrey gave up four runs in the first two innings. Humphrey, called upon to pitch the opener as well — she’s the only full-time pitcher remaining on the team — gave up six runs and eight hits as the Sycamores dropped a 6-1 game to start the day.
ISU, MVFC brace for change at FCS football level
It seemed so far-fetched.
Internet rumors circulated that Indiana State had been approached by the Sun Belt Conference to bring the Sycamores’ football team into the Sun Belt’s fold.
The Sun Belt is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision. Bowl football. Big boy football … and all it entails.
ISU football in good spirits after healthy Spring Game
Was Saturday afternoon’s weather an omen for Indiana State football as the Sycamores wrapped up spring practice with the annual Blue-White Game at Memorial Stadium? After several practices conducted in less-than-perfect conditions, they’d like to think so.
Loyola ready to take big step
Loyola University and the Missouri Valley Conference took their first steps together Friday and the MVC is hoping the Ramblers don’t have to take too many baby steps before they become a competitive part of the conference.
Sanford wraps up first spring with ISU
The final day of Indiana State football’s first Mike Sanford experience is upon the Sycamores.
Lansing excited about Etherington's signing with Sycamores
The spring signing period for men’s basketball is usually a time to use available scholarships to load up on junior college additions and transfers.
To find a diamond-in-the-rough at the high school level who can give you four years? That’s harder to come by.
Creighton sweep puts ISU in thick of things
In a difficult early-season Missouri Valley Conference schedule, Indiana State took its lumps. Unenviable back-to-back trips to contenders Missouri State and Wichita State had ISU reeling with five straight MVC losses eight days ago.
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.
Devin Moore pitches gem in 6-1 victory over Creighton
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.
Sanford gets 2nd look at Sycamores
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.
ISU center FN Lutz glad to be back in the middle of things
For someone who missed an entire season due to a knee injury, Indiana State center FN Lutz has certainly kept himself visible since then.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU's Brandon Pounds the top collegian in Sea Ray relays
Indiana State senior Brandon Pounds was the top collegian in the men’s hammer throw and fellow senior Felisha Johnson opened up the Sycamores’ three-day competition at the University of Tennessee’s Sea Ray relays with a second-place finish in the women’s hammer throw.
Stealing records: ISU softball’s offense gaining momentum
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.
- More Indiana State University Headlines
- ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction