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Courtesy: ISU Athletics
RJ Mahurin Leads Sycamores To Exhibition Victory Over Lewis
Courtesy:ISU Athletics

Ace Hunt

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Indiana State junior RJ Mahurin poured in a game-high 21 points off the bench as the Sycamores came back from an early deficit to defeat Lewis, 79-66, in front of 3,625 fans inside Hulman Center.


The game against Lewis was the lone exhibition contest of the season for the Sycamores.


"Lewis is a good team with good players, well coached by a friend, Scott Trost," Sycamore head coach Greg Lansing said. "They exposed a lot of things. We can be a good team, but we still have a ways to go with our maturity. It is good for us that Lewis made a run and that made us perk up in the second half. Our guys are working hard, but I feel like we have still have a long ways to go."


Mahurin hit 9-of-14 shots from the field in scoring his 21 points in 15 minutes of action. He added two blocked shots in the game.


"RJ can score and we are going to have to get this type of production from him this year," Lansing said. "He is a good helper on defense and leads the team in charges taken. He did a good job at times, but he is like everyone else -- we need fewer mistakes."


Dawon Cummings was 4-of-8 from the floor, including a pair of 3-pointers, with six rebounds, six assists and five steals in 29 minutes of action to score 12 points. Khristian Smith tallied 10 points with seven rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes of action.


"All of the new players did not some nice things in the game," Lansing said. "It is the mistakes that we have to clean up. It is early, but that is not going to be an excuse here in a week when we go to UCLA. We are in this together. We have to keep improving, but I don't want to keep harping on how young we are this year."


The Sycamores blazed the nets for a 52 percent shooting percentage in the first half (13-of-25) and finished the contest with a 26-of-56 mark, good enough for 46.4 percent. ISU won the rebounding battle by a 39-31 margin and had 20 assists on the night.


Indiana State held a 38-24 advantage in the paint and used 15 Lewis turnovers to score 16 points while the Sycamores were able to push the ball in transition, scoring 16 fast break points.


The Sycamores raced out to an 8-0 lead in the game's first four minutes, as Jake Odum scored the first four points of the contest. Lewis answered with a 13-0 run of their own as they held the Sycamores scoreless until Manny Arop converted two free throws at the 12 minute mark to cut the Flyer advantage down to 13-10.


Lewis held the lead at 19-16 until Mahurin drained a 3-pointer with 7:44 remaining in the first half to knot the game at 19. Mahurin came right back with a jumper to give ISU a 21-19 lead before a Nick Valla triple regained the lead 22-21 for the Flyers.


Mahurin scored again on a lay-up with six minutes to go to make it 23-22. After Lewis made it 25-24 with 4:33 remaining before the break, the Sycamores scored the game's next eight points for a 33-24 lead. Lucas Eitel hit a pair of free throws for a 37-26 halftime lead.


ISU held a 46-35 advantage with 15 minutes remaining in the game, but the Sycamores would score 10 unanswered points, capped by a trey from Cummings with 12:27 on the clock for a 56-35 lead. The Sycamores got the Sycamore lead all the way down to 73-64 with 1:35 left on a 7-0 run, but the Sycamores got a conventional 3-point play from Mahurin with 1:30 remaining to make it 76-64.


Arop scored the final point of the game on a free throw with 43 seconds left for the 79-66 victory.


Lewis put three players in double figures scoring, led by Julian Lewis who scored 16 points.


The Sycamores open the regular season on Friday, November 9 when they travel to UCLA for the first game in the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 11:00 p.m. (ET) and the game will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net.


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