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Courtesy: ISU Athletics
Sycamores Down Nationally-Ranked Notre Dame On The Road
Courtesy:ISU Athletics

Ace Hunt



SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Indiana State trailed only twice at No. 21/22 nationally-ranked Notre Dame and withstood an early second half comeback by the Fighting Irish by putting together a key 18-3 run as the Sycamores took home an 83-70 victory in front of 8,257 fans inside the Joyce Center.


ISU improves to 2-1, while Notre Dame fell to 2-1.


The victory by Indiana State is the third in a row against a nationally-ranked opponent and its second in a row over a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. It marks the third season in a row that Indiana State has defeated a nationally-ranked team on the road. The win also ends Notre Dame's 48-game, 14-year home court winning streak in the month of November.


Justin Gant led the Sycamores with 17 points, hitting 6-of-12 shots from the field and grabbed four rebounds. Five different Sycamores reached double figures scoring as Khristian Smith scored 15, Manny Arop had 13 while Odum and Devonte Brown posted 10.


Indiana State has scored at least 80 points in all three of its games so far this season. ISU hit 28-of-58 shots from the field (48.3 percent) and were 11-of-20 from 3-point range (55 percent). Additionally, the Sycamores made 16-of-17 free throws (94.1 percent). The Sycamores limited Notre Dame to 24-of-65 shooting (36.9 percent). The Sycamore bench outscored the Fighting Irish 32-15.


The Sycamores fell behind 5-2 in the early going but answered with five in a row before the first media timeout on a baseline drive by Justin Gant as well as a 3-pointer from Manny Arop to take a 7-5 lead four minutes in.


Khristian Smith, coming off a career-best 28-point performance at Belmont on Thursday night scored the next six points for the Sycamores off the bench to stretch the Sycamore advantage out to 13-7 at the 11:26 mark. The Sycamore advantage ballooned to 25-11 on consecutive triples by Devonte Brown and Dawon Cummings around the eight minute mark.


The Cummings 3-pointer was fourth in five possessions for the Sycamore offense. For good measure, Justin Gant made it five in six possessions with seven minutes remaining to answer a Notre Dame triple and regain a 28-14 lead -- which would prove to be the Sycamores' largest of the opening stanza.


The Indiana State lead stayed right at 14 (34-20) as Brandon Burnett made a contested lay-up with 3:39 left before the intermission. The Irish would get as close as eight points in the final three minutes but Justin Gant drilled an open 3-pointer at the top of the key off the feed from Odum for a 40-27 lead with 50 seconds left but Notre Dame answered with a three of their own from the corner with 20 seconds left to trim the Indiana State cushion down to 40-30.


The Sycamores drilled eight 3-pointers in the first half (hitting 47 percent) as Smith led the offensive attack with nine points and Gant was right behind him with eight.


Gant opened the second half with a jumper in the paint to stretch the lead out to 42-30, but it was the Fighting Irish who scored 10 of the first 14 points after the half to trim the Sycamore cushion down to 44-40 with just under 16 minutes remaining.


Notre Dame would eventually take a 45-44 lead over the Sycamores at the 15:06 mark, but the Sycamores went on a big 10-0 run over the next four minutes, highlighted by a fastbreak one-handed dunk from Dawon Cummings at the 12:08 mark and the lead grew all the way back out to 54-45 with 11 minutes to go on a driving lay-up from Devonte Brown.


Manny Arop got into the 3-point success with his own triple at the 8:40 mark to reestablish a 14-point lead at 62-48. In answer to a Notre Dame 3-pointer after the eight minute media timeout, Gant hit a jumper in the paint to run it out to a 64-51 cushion and then Gant made a pair of free throws for a 66-51 advantage at the six minute mark.


Notre Dame was led in scoring by Eric Atkins with 18 points, one of three different members of the Fighting Irish to reach double figures scoring.


Indiana State returns to action on Friday, November 22 when they host Truman State in a non-conference matchup. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET). 

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