Manny Arop used his strength and length to help Indiana State advance past Mississippi in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic.
It was the kind of play that you see a kindergartner make.
With the game tied in the closing seconds, Mississippi's Jarvis Summers grabbed a defensive rebound and tossed it up the floor to his wide-open teammate. All Murphy Holloway had to do was turn and gently pop a little 5-footer into the basket.
Except that wasn't what Holloway did. With a path open ahead of him, the senior forward took a step, then another, and another and then two more as he saw the chance to end the game with an emphatic dunk.
Sorry Murphy, you can only take two of those five steps. The traveling call with 0.3 seconds remaining turned into overtime, and Indiana State capitalized on strong shooting to take out the once high-flying Rebels, 87-85 in overtime.
The Sycamores shot 42.9 percent for the game, including an amazing 40.9 percent from 3-point range. The overall strong performance of Indiana State was led by Manny Arop, who was given player of the game honors by the television crew even before the overtime started.
Marshall Henderson might have had something to say about that had he been given more opportunities from 3-point range in the overtime. The Rebels' leader scored 27 points, including seven threes.
That is how good Arop was. He scored inside (including a great dunk off of an Indiana State miss, when he seemed to come out of nowhere); he scored outside (4-for-5 from 3-point range); and he pulled in seven rebounds for the Sycamores.
It was a career-high 27 for the junior, leading the five starters who all finished in double figures. They needed it, given that the bench was able to manage just 10 points for Indiana State.
Jake Odum scored 16 points on an off shooting night. Normally a solid free-throw shooter, the junior put in just 10 of 15 from the stripe, and was only 3-for-9 on the floor. He did add eight rebounds and eight assists to go with two steals and a block in the win.
The loss was the second of the season for Mississippi, both to decent mid-major squads. This wasn't the way that the Rebels wanted to start their trip to Hawaii, a loss that will not do anything to help their computer numbers, nor their RPI playing through the loser's bracket.
The Sycamores will face the winner of San Diego State and San Francisco in the semifinals Sunday.