Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Sycamores avoided a late collapse after early foul trouble as they escape BracketBuster Saturday with a win over Iona.
Lamont Jones sure is fun to watch. Especially when he gets on a run.
I was never a true believer in the notion that a struggling shooter can get into a rhythm just by getting to the foul line, but I may have to change my tune.
In the first half, a pair of free throws did no good for MoMo, as his missed shot early in the second half was his seventh miss in nine shots. However, a later drive sent him to the line, and that seemed to do the trick, as Jones cranked up the offense to the tune of 20 second half points for a total of 26 for the game.
Unfortunately for the Gaels, his offensive counterpart Sean Armand never really got going, and Iona was unable to continue capitalizing on their explosive offensive potential. The Gaels were able to get into the bonus by drawing Indiana State's eighth team foul with over 13 minutes left to play, but didn't reach the double bonus until almost nine minutes later.
Things looked good for the Gaels in the final minute with a 62-60 lead, until they left Jake Odum wide open for a three pointer that put them back down by one. Odum had been very quiet all game (he averages 14 ppg, and that three gave him 10 for the game), but that doesn't mean giving him open looks from above the elbow is wise.
Then Armand finally got a solid drive, hitting two free throws to put Iona back up by one... only to watch Odum beat the press and thread a perfect pass to Dawon Cummings for a layup that went uncontested until a foolish foul by Armand. The free throw was missed, but Iona's lack of timeouts left them with only a desperation heave as an option, which wasn't enough.
Nothing is guaranteed in the MVC, but this puts Indiana State back on track to finish teh regular season strong with games against Drake and Evansville. The Gaels continue to just miss - they are now 10-8 since Christmas, and those eight losses have been by a total of 21 points. We will see if they can recover at home, where the recent double OT loss to Marist is their only home loss since December 8th.