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Sycamores Bounce Back With Road Victory Over Loyola

January 23, 2014


CHICAGO -- Indiana State used a spark off the bench from both Khristian Smith and Brandon Burnett as the Sycamores recorded a 65-61 road victory over Loyola in front of 1,180 fans inside the Gentile Arena. 


The Sycamores improved to 15-4, 6-1 MVC while Loyola fell to 7-12, 2-5 MVC. More importantly, the Sycamores kept pace with nationally-ranked Wichita State with three road victories in conference play on the season. It marked the eighth victory this season away from Hulman Center.


While Smith and Burnett were key in the contest, Jake Odum finished with 14 points. He now has 1,355 for his career and passed both Matt Renn and Rick Williams and moved into ninth all-time at Indiana State in scoring. 


Smith paced the Sycamores with 18 points as he scored each of the first 11 for Indiana State in the game. Burnett tallied a career-high 10 points in the win. On the boards, Justin Gant posted a season-high eight rebounds while Jake Kitchell tied a career-high with seven caroms.


Overall, the Sycamores dominated the glass by a 41-28 margin, including a 12-3 edge in offensive rebounds and an 11-5 advantage in second chance points. The Sycamores were held to just 8-of-29 shooting in the first half (27.9 percent), but hit 52.2 percent of their shots from the field after halftime. 


The Sycamores improved to 48-4 under head coach Greg Lansing when holding a team to 63 points or less and won at Loyola for the first time since 1998. To note, the Sycamores also picked up their first Missouri Valley Conference season-series sweep of the season with the win over the Ramblers.


Indiana State would fall behind 5-0 in the early going before Khristian Smith took the lid off the basket with a conventional 3-point play which got the Sycamores within two points of the Ramblers. In fact, Smith scored each of the first 11 points for the Sycamores, including a pair of free throws at the 12:25 mark which left Loyola with a slim 12-11 advantage.


A 3-pointer from Loyola's Milton Doyle with just under six minutes remaining made it 24-18 in favor of the Ramblers but Brandon Burnett waltzed on the court and scored seven points in a row which included a trifecta, two free throws as well as a putback lay-up for a 25-24 Sycamore edge with 3:02 on the clock.


The Sycamore lead grew to 28-24 with 2:40 remaining on a triple from Devonte Brown -- it would be the largest lead of the half for Indiana State. Jeff White rolled in a jumper for Loyola as Indiana State held a 28-27 lead at the break. Smith led the Sycamores with 11 points while Burnett added seven. 


Jake Odum scored for the Sycamores on the first possession of the second half as hit a foul line jumper which staked the Sycamores to a 30-27 lead. Dawon Cummings then made it a 5-0 run to open the second half as he hit his second trifecta of the contest for a 33-27 edge with just over 18 minutes on the clock.


After Jeff White trimmed the Sycamore lead down to three points, Burnett surpassed his career high with his second triple of the game (10 points) with 17 minutes remaining to stake ISU to a 36-30 lead. After Loyola trimmed the Sycamore lead down to just two points, Gant dunked it in the lane with 15 minutes to go which made it 41-37.


Loyola would score three points in a row before Cummings found Gant down low for a lay-up at the 12:39 mark as the 43-40 cushion was restored. The Ramblers answered and the Sycamores kept going inside -- this time to Jake Kitchell who hit a lay-up with 11:35 remaining for the 45-42 lead. Loyola once again drew within a point but Smith converted his second conventional 3-point play of the contest for a 48-44 advantage as the clock ticked under 10 minutes remaining.


The Ramblers would once again even the score but Khristian Smith forced a turnover and was fouled in transition after which he hit a pair of free throws with 8:04 on the clock for a 50-48 lead. A pair of Milton Doyle free throws with 6:37 remaining leveled the score at 50.


Loyola took a 52-50 lead but with 5:15 on the clock, Odum got a defensive rebound and pushed the ball in transition where he hit a lay-up to even the score at 52. Odum missed the ensuing charity toss but got his own rebound and hit a jumper which turned in a conventional 3-pt play for a 55-52 lead. The trip turned into a five-point trip --- all by Odum. Gant added a jumper at the 4:31 mark to stretch the lead out to 57-52.


Leading 58-55, Odum drove to the bucket and hit a lay-up for the 60-55 lead as the clock reached 2:21 left in regulation. Loyola's Christian Thomas hit a pair of free throws with 1:42 left to trim the Sycamore advantage down to 60-57. In the full court press, Odum was fouled just two seconds later and he converted a pair of charity tosses to restore the 62-57 cushion.


In three possessions, the Sycamore defense allowed just one made free throw as the Ramblers got within 62-58. Odum was fouled with 16.6 seconds on the clock and hit a pair of free throws for a 64-58 cushion. Jeff White hit a trifecta with six seconds remaining and Indiana State held a 64-61 lead.


After a Loyola timeout, Cummings was fouled by the Ramblers. Cummings would hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line for a 65-61 edge. 


Indiana State returns home to face off against Illinois State inside Hulman Center on Saturday, January 25. Tip-off is set for 6:05 p.m. (ET).

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