Indiana State limited Eastern Illinois to an opponent's season-low 48 points and they ran away late in the second half with a 66-48 victory over the Panthers in front of 1,255 fans inside Lantz Arena.
The Sycamores won their third consecutive game to improve to 6-2 while the Panthers fell to 3-6. Indiana State has now won six in a row over EIU and it was their 89th victory in the all-time series. Indiana State has now played Eastern Illinois (123 times) more than any other opponent in the history of the program. It marked the first victory on the road against a member of the Ohio Valley Conference since a win at Murray State in 2008.
Jake Odum paced the Indiana State offensive attack with 15 points as he hit 3-of-4 shots from 3-point range. Manny Arop added 12 points and seven rebounds as he went 6-of-6 from the free throw line while Demetrius Moore tied his career-high with 10 points.
The Indiana State defense limited Eastern Illinois to just 16-of-54 shooting (29.6 percent) and were 3-of-13 from 3-point range (23.1 percent).
The Sycamores owned a 38-24 edge in points in the paint and scored 24 fast break points in the contest.
Leading 44-39, the Sycamores were looking for a spark and they found it from junior Demetrius Moore. He scored on three consecutive trips down the floor to run the ISU advantage out to 50-39 with 6:19 remaining. The Sycamore run would extend all the way out to 12-0 on a trifecta from Khristian Smith as the clock ticked under five minutes to go and the lead was 56-39.
After EIU scored twice to get within 60-43, Smith then added a breakaway dunk with 3:07 remaining for a 60-43 cushion. Justin Gant extending the ISU lead out to 64-45 with just over two minutes remaining when he rebounded a miss and dunked the ball home.
Indiana State connected on two of the first three made field goals against the Panthers as Arop opened the scoring in the contest with a pair of free throws and was fouled by a Khristian Smith dunk and Gant jumper as the Sycamores owned an early 6-3 advantage. The two teams traded the lead six times and the score was tied six other times in the opening half of play but ISU surged ahead 12-10 briefly with 12 minutes left before halftime on a steal and fastbreak dunk from Dawon Cummings.
Playing for the first time as a collegian in his hometown, redshirt freshman TJ Bell scored in transition with at the 9:02 mark of the first half to knot the score at 16. Jake Odum opened a small gap for the Sycamores with a 3-pointer at the 6:50 mark for a 21-18 cushion. EIU would go on to score the next four points until Jake Kitchell hit a lay-up to regain a 23-22 lead as the clock ticked under five minutes.
Cummings hit a 3-pointer with 3:55 on the clock to stretch the Sycamore lead out to 26-22 as part of a mini 5-0 run. The half closed with a pair of free throws from Arop with 1:16 remaining and a Arop lay-up with just under a minute to go for a 30-22 halftime lead. The Sycamores finished the first half by scoring nine of the final 11 points and Arop scored 10 points before the break.
The Sycamores were able to extend their six-point halftime lead on the first possession of the second half when Cummings converted the conventional 3-point play for a 33-24 lead -- its largest of the game to that point. Eastern Illinois responded with the next four points but Odum connected on a driving lay-up with 17:01 on the clock for a 35-28 advantage.
Indiana State would go on to rattle off a 9-0 run, which capped off a fast-break lay-up by Khristian Smith off the feed from Cummings to stake ISU to a 41-28 lead with 13:54 remaining. With 10:32 to go, Odum drained a 3-pointer to temporarily stop a 7-0 EIU run, which became an 11-3 run and got EIU within 44-39.
Indiana State returns to action on Saturday, December 14 after taking a break from the action to complete their final exams. The Sycamores will travel to UMKC and tip-off is set for 3:05 p.m. (ET) and will be televised in the Wabash Valley on WTWO-TV as well as world-wide on ESPN3.