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ISU Holds Off Drake For Historic Win

Four Straight 18 Win Seasons for the Sycamores.
Indiana State toughed out a historic 60-56 victory over Drake in front of 5,449 fans inside Hulman Center today (Feb. 9).

The Sycamores improved to 18-6 and 9-3 in MVC play while Drake fell to 12-12, 3-9 MVC. The victory over Drake gave the Sycamores their 18th victory of the season. This is the fourth consecutive season that the Indiana State program has reached at least 18 victories and that has never happened before in the 118-year history of the program.

Indiana State was led in scoring by 19 points from Khristian Smith who had 19 points off the bench. Manny Arop tallied 13 points. The Sycamores out rebounded the Bulldogs by a 34-27 margin, including a 8-2 edge on the offensive glass. That netted a 9-3 advantage in second chance points. With only nine turnovers for the Sycamores and the defense forcing 12, Indiana State also owned a 15-5 cushion in points off turnovers and the Sycamore bench outscored their counterparts by a 28-11 margin.

Drake hit 19-of-44 shots in the game (43.2 percent), while the Sycamores tossed in 20-of-49 (40.8 percent). The Sycamores also overcame eight Drake 3-pointers in the game by making 18-of-24 free throws (75 percent) while the Bulldogs were 10-of-15 (43.2) percent.

The Sycamores improved to 50-4 (.936) when holding the opposition to 63 points or less under fourth year head coach Greg Lansing. Jake Odum tallied six assists to give him 564 for his career, which is just 52 off the Steve Reed's school record.

Arop got the Sycamores going with a lay-up on the opening possession for a quick 2-0 advantage. After Trevor Berkeley pushed Drake ahead 3-2, Cummings hit a fastbreak lay-up off the feed from Arop for a 4-3 advantage. The field goal sparked a 7-0 run which put the Sycamores ahead 9-3 with just under four minutes expired.

Drake came back to take a 13-9 lead before Arop hit a jumper and Devonte Brown poured in a pair of free throws to knot the contest at 13 with 11:56 left before the half. A Cummings dunk made it a 9-0 run for a 18-13 cushion. Drake would whittled the Sycamore lead down to 20-18 before a conventional 3-point play from Burnett, and a lay-up from Smith as well as a free throw made it 26-18 with 5:42 on the clock.

A Gant jumper at the 3:50 mark would give the Sycamores a 28-19 lead but Drake scored the final seven points and Indiana State held a 28-26 lead going into the lockeroom. Arop led the Sycamores with seven points at the break.

The Sycamore lead grew to 32-26 after the break on a jumper by Arop and then a pair of charity tosses from Gant on the first two possessions of the second half. Drake got the lead down to 34-31 four minutes in, but Smith hit a jumper and then Moore hit a pair of free throws and Smith drilled an open 3-pointer for a 41-32 Sycamore lead at the 14:19 mark.

A pair of Smith free throws following a Drake free throws gave Indiana State a 43-33 lead but Drake worked the lead all the way down to just 45-42 on a lay-up from Jordan Daniels with 10:04 remaining. The Sycamores responded with a free throw by Jake Kitchell (who finished the game with four blocked shots) and Cummings connected on a lay-up to restore a 48-42 cushion over the next minute.

Kitchell hit a lay-up with 4:42 remaining fora  54-46 lead, but Drake scored the next six points on consecutive trifectas to get the Sycamore advantage down to just 54-52 with 2:33 remaining. Odum hit a jumper with 2:18 to go but Carter answered with a lay-up and the Sycamores were ahead 56-54 with just three ticks over two minutes to go.

The Sycamores countered with a conventional 3-point play from Smith with 1:13 remaining for a 59-54 lead. Karl Madison scored with 58 seconds remaining to get Drake within 59-56. Odum missed a jumper but Aaron Hawley was wide left on a contested 3-pointer with five seconds remaining and Smith grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He hit 1-of-2 free throws for the 60-56 victory.

Three Bulldogs reached double figures scoring, led by 12 points from Berkeley.

Indiana State returns to action on Wednesday, February 12 when they travel to Bradley. Tip-off is slated for 8:05 p.m. (ET).
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