Opening night couldn’t have been any better for Indiana State. The Sycamores brought a rebuilt roster into their curtain raiser at Indiana’s historic Assembly Hall and made some history of their own. The Sycamores defeated the Hoosiers, 90-69.
ISU made shots early and often. Brenton Scott led the way with 24 points, but the entire team was on fire from long distance. The Sycamores shot over 65 percent from deep, and head coach Greg Lansing said it all started with the first shot of the game by sophomore Jordan Barnes.
“We hit a lot of shots early. Our offense was clicking from the start,” said Lansing. “I think our first three-point attempt went in and I think we made 10 of 15 in the first half. We moved the ball really well, hit the open shots and shared the ball really well.”
Conversely, Indiana State held the Hoosiers to just 22 percent from long range and Lansing said, “sometimes your offense inspires your defensive effort.”
“That inspires your defense some times, so the guys were energized on the defensive end,” said Lansing. “A lot of things went right for us today. We wanted to take away their transition, because they are great at that, and we did a great job on that in the first half.”
Lansing added, sometimes things seem to go your way, and the other team is also having an off night.
“We threw some shots in at the end of some shot clocks,” he said. “We got them on a night when they weren’t as good as they’re probably going to be.”
Scott - who was the hero of last year’s tight (72-71) win over Butler - was forced to play a bit out of position, but the preseason all-conference player adjusted and put on a show.
“Other than a few turnovers (in the first half), he was really good,” explained Lansing. “He had to play a lot of point guard for us tonight because Jordan Barnes was in foul trouble. He was something like six for eight in the second half.”
Four Sycamores besides Scott scored in double figures. Barnes finished with 18 points, Qidar Davis had 13, Brandon Murphy 12 and Devin Thomas 10. Lansing said their solid shooting numbers came from unselfish play.
“Everybody did a really good job moving the basketball and playing super unselfishly,” Lansing said. “That’s a lot easier to do when the shots are going in.”
After last year’s win over Butler evened the Sycamores’ record at 5-5, they finished the season losing 15 of their final 21 games, so Lansing knows they can celebrate this historic and emotional win, but they cannot rest on this one accomplishment.
“It’s my first time here as a head coach at Assembly Hall. I’ve always been a Bob Knight fan. Pat (Knight) is a good friend of mine,” he shared. “I know how special this place is. It is a big win, but we certainly don’t want this to be the biggest win of our year. But it is a really big win for our team and for our program. Maybe this shows the kind of potential we have. We’ll enjoy this win tonight, but then we have to get back to work.”
Scheduling major conference teams is difficult for mid major programs and Lansing appreciates that first year Indiana coach Archie Miller gave the ISU program the opportunity to start the season in Bloomington.
“He (Archie Miller) does a great job and he doesn’t have to do this,” shared Lansing. “I know it’s hard when you’re a Power Five program, to play an in-state school. We appreciated the opportunity and we made the most of it.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Lansing and the Sycamores. After defeating the Big Ten’s Indiana on Friday, they’ll tangle with Southeastern Conference foe Auburn on Thursday.