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Courtesy: ISU Athletics
Smothering Sycamore Defense Key In Victory At Ball State
Courtesy:ISU Athletics


Ace Hunt


MUNCIE, Ind. -- Paced by a 21-point scoring performance by junior Jake Odum, Indiana State earned a 65-45 victory over Ball State in front of 3,128 fans inside Worthen Arena.


The Sycamores won for the third time in a row and moved to 3-1 on the season while the Cardinals were dealt their first defeat of the season and fell to 2-1. Indiana State won at Ball State for the first time in Worthen Arena as well as the first time in 11 tries dating back to 1986.


Odum hit 7-of-12 shots from the field and was 6-of-8 from the free throw line to lead the team with 21 points. Manny Arop recorded the first double-double of his Indiana State career as he scored 13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds while RJ Mahurin scored 13points off the bench.


Odum added six assists and seven rebounds to his game-high 21 points.


The Sycamore offense was efficient and shot at a 45.7 percent clip for the game, but it was the defense that set the tone in the contest. Indiana State improved to 29-1 under head coach Greg Lansing when holding teams under 63 points, including a mark of 13-0 when limiting the opposition to under 53.


Ball State was held to just 16-of-50 shooting (32 percent) and only were able to connect on 1-of-10 from the free throw line. The Sycamores hit 21-of-46 (45.7 percent) from the field, including a season-best eight 3-pointers. The Sycamores got 27 points off the bench and forced 14 Cardinal turnovers and scored 12 points off of them.


Indiana State raced out to a quick 8-0 lead, led by a pair of Manny Arop free throws just 40 seconds into the game and continued with four points in a row by Odum and ended with a second chance lay-up from RJ Mahurin as the Sycamores owned an 8-0 advantage four minutes in.


Jawaian Scafe drilled a 3-pointer for Ball State's first points of the game, but Odum then found Khristian Smith for an alley-oop dunk with 14:03 on the clock to restore a 10-3 lead. Sciafe would score again but Mahurin got the lead into double figures at the 12 minute mark of the first half with his two 3-pointers before the half to make it 15-5.


The Sycamore lead would volley between nine and 11 points until Odum hit another driving lay-up with 5:42 left before the break and Mahurin followed it up with a pair of free throws 30 seconds later to stretch the cushion out to 28-15.


Mahurin hit a triple and Arop added a jumper as the clock ticked towards one minute to go and both defenses held to send the Sycamores into the lockerroom with a 35-24 advantage.


Ball State scored first in the second half, but Odum converted a fast break lay-up and Arop drilled a 3-pointer with 16:40 on the clock to run the ISU advantage back out to 40-28. Devonte Brown answered three points in a row after two Odum free throws with a 3-pointer as the Sycamores moved ahead 45-31 with just over 14 minutes remaining.


The Cardinals cut the Sycamore lead down to 11 points yet again, but this time Lucas Eitel had the answer with a triple after Mahurin saved a loose ball and the lead ran out to 49-35 with 12:40 remaining. Cummings ended a dry spell for the Sycamores with a steal and break-away dunk to make it 51-37 with under 10 minutes to go.


The Sycamores allowed four points in a row as Ball State cut the lead down to 10 points, but Justin Gant hit 1-of-2 free throws and Kitchell took a nice feed in the paint from Odum with just over eight minutes left to run the advantage back out to 54-41. Arop would hit two more charity tosses with just over five minutes remaining as the Sycamore advantage hit 56-41 after he was fouled hauling in a long rebound. 


Indiana State's run hit 8-0 when Odum hit a 3-pointer at the 4:25 mark to stretch the Sycamore lead out to 59-42. Brown hit 1-of-2 free throws after the final media timeout, and Mahurin hit another 3-pointer as the clock ticked under three minutes to go as the lead ballooned to 63-42.


Lucas Eitel hit a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left on the ISU's final offensive possession to seal the 68-48 victory.


Indiana State returns to action after Thanksgiving when they host High Point, of the Big South Conference, of Sunday, November 25. Tip-off is set for 1:05 p.m. (ET).

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