TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Junior forward Carl Richard hit a bank shot lay-up as time expired to push the Sycamores past the Bluejays of Creighton 61-59 in a thriller in front of 6,080 fans at Hulman Center Sunday.
Indiana State has now won five consecutive league contests and improve to 11-7, 6-1 MVC while Creighton fell to 12-7, 4-3 MVC. The Sycamores are a perfect 7-0 on the season at home and have now won 12 consecutive contests at Hulman Center, which is the third longest home court winning streak in the history of the program. ISU also improved to 9-0 this season when holding a team to 63 points or less.
The Sycamores 6-1 start to league play is the best for ISU since the 1999-00 MVC Championship squad began the year with the same conference record and is tied for the second best start in school history.
"I thought that was a very hard fought back and forth game against a good team," head coach Greg Lansing said.
With just over two minutes left to play Richard was called for a foul sending the Bluejays to the foul line where they hit both free throws and pulled out to a 59-57 lead.
Odum put the Sycamores right back into it though with a jumper to tie things up with just 53 seconds remaining in the game.
The Sycamore defense then stepped up and got a stop on the other end and Odum was fouled at the top of the key with just 4.3 seconds left in the game.
After the inbound, Odum missed a 3-pointer and Richard read the miss got the rebound and banked in a reverse layup as the buzzer sounded to give the Sycamores a thrilling 61-59 win. Richard's game winner capped an 11 point, seven rebound performance which comes on the heels of back-to-back double-doubles for the junior forward.
Senior Aaron Carter got things started off for the Sycamores with a 3-pointer to start the game but the Bluejays answered back scoring a bucket and a 3-pointer to take a 5-3 lead.
Both teams battled back and forth trading the lead and were tied at 22 a piece with 4:23 remaining in the first half. However, the
Bluejays offense began to heat up and pulled away from the Sycamore at halftime.
At the break the Sycamores trailed the Bluejays 30-24.
The Bluejays shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half while the Sycamores only shot 31 percent.
Coming out of the locker room the Sycamores offense roared to life and opened the half on a 14-4 run thanks to a jumper and 3-pointer by Carter and 3-pointers by freshman guard Steve McWhorter, redshirt freshman guard Jake Odum and Richard.
Both teams offenses went on double digit scoring runs but neither team faded and with just under five minutes to play the score was all knotted up at 54.
The Bluejays tried to pull away with a 3-pointer but Carter answered back with a 3-pointer of his own to tie the game at 57.
With the win the Sycamores move up to second place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with a 6-1 record.
The Sycamores were led offensively with 20 points, two rebounds and two steals from Carter. McWhorter and Richard both added 11 points for the Sycamores. Richard also led the Sycamores in rebounds with seven.
Odum also had seven points with a career-high nine assists, five rebounds and two steals.
As a team the Sycamores shot 64 percent from beyond the arc in the second half with a 9-14 effort. ISU was held to just one 3-pointer in the opening half. The Sycamores have now hit more 3-pointers than the opposition in each of their last 10 contests.
The Sycamores also out-rebounded the Bluejays 37-32 and the Sycamores had 19 offensive rebounds.
The Sycamores will return to action Wednesday when they play host to the league-leading Bears of Missouri State University. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m. where the Sycamores and Bears will battle for first place in the MVC standings.