Sycamores Nearly Knock Off Undefeated Wichita State Before Electric Hulman Center Crowd
February 6, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Hulman Center had an electric feel to it that was reminsicent of the 1978-79 Dream Season when sellouts were the norm, but Wichita State kept chasing after the Sycamores' record of success from that campaign as the Shockers earned a hard-fought 65-58 victory in front of 9,245 fans.
The Sycamores dropped to 17-6, 8-3 MVC while Wichita State improved to 24-0, 11-0 MVC. The last team in the Missouri Valley Conference to win their first 24 contests was Indiana State with Larry Bird in 1978-79. The 9,245 fans who came to see the Sycamores take on the Shockers was the largest crowd inside Hulman Center since 10,200 fans saw Indiana State down nationally-ranked Indiana in 2005. ISU nearly knocked off a nationally-ranked team at home for the second consecutive year. The No. 2/4 Shockers were the highest team to play on the Hulman Center court since Indiana State was No. 1 late in that 78-79 campaign.
Indiana State was paced by Manny Arop who scored 16 points and nine rebounds. Jake Odum posted 11 points and six rebounds with four assists while Khristian Smith stayed hot with 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Sycamores owned a 41-35 advantage in rebounding, including a 11-4 edge on the offensive glass. Indiana State was up 10-3 on second-chance points on Wichita State. Indiana State hit 18-of-56 shots from the field (32.1 percent) while the Shockers were 20-of-47 (42.6 percent).
Wichita State scored the first seven points of the game before Justin Gant hit a trio of free throws to get within 7-3 just over two minutes in. After the Shockers took an 11-3 advantage, the Sycamores went on a 6-0 spurt which was capped by a pair of Jake Kitchell charity tosses to draw Indiana State within 11-9 at the 14:40 mark. A 3-pointer from Jake Odum four minutes later coupled with solid Sycamore defense made it a 15-14 Shocker advantage.
A free throws from Khristian Smith with 8:57 on the clock got Indiana State as close as 20-17 but Wichita State came back with four in a row to make the gap seven points before Arop hit a jumper to get within 24-19. Ron Baker's trey with 6:21 remaining gave Wichita State a 28-19 advantage at the 6:21 mark but Smith answered with a triple of his own and then Cotton countered with a trey with 4:39 remaining to push the Shockers ahead 31-22.
Indiana State got hot and consecutive buckets from Arop made it a five point cushion for Wichita State before Odum's driving lay-up made it 31-28 and forced the Shockers to burn a timeout. Wichita State took a 36-30 lead on a Fred VanVleet trifecta with 1:32 on the clock before Arop hit a trey of his own on the next possession to cut it 36-33 and Arop hit a jumper at the halftime buzzer with his toe on the line to send the Shockers into the locker room with a 36-35 lead.
The Sycamores made it a 7-0 run with an Arop jumper out of the half for a 37-36 lead. Wichita State answered with nine in a row to take a 45-37 lead. Three charity tosses from Cleanthony Early staked Wichita State to a 50-39 lead with 12:33 remaining. The Sycamores started a 8-0 run over the next three minutes which was capped with pair of free throws from Dawon Cummings at the 9:04 mark and got Indiana State within 52-50.
The Shocker lead grew to 56-50 before Gant rattled home a trey to cut the lead down to 56-53. A free throw from Cummings got Indiana State within 58-56 with 2:01 on the clock. Early pushed Wichita State ahead 61-56 with 1:04 remaining on a conventional 3-point play but Gant hit a free throw at the 46 second mark to cut the Shocker lead down to 61-57. The rest of the way, Indiana State would get a free throw from Arop and and the Shockers hit more from the line down the stretch to earn the 65-58 victory.
Early paced Wichita State with 19 points.
Indiana State stays at home to face Drake on Sunday, February 9 inside Hulman Center. Tip-off is set for 3:05 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on the MVC TV Network.