TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP)—Indiana State didn’t need a last-second shot to beat Indiana. All it took was grit, determination and the seemingly unstoppable tandem of David Moss and Tyson Schnitker.
Moss and Schnitker each scored 19 points, had six assists and accounted for 28 of 42 second-half points to help the Sycamores rally from an 11-point second-half deficit and upset No. 18 Indiana 72-67 on Tuesday night.
“This is one of the biggest things we’ve accomplished since I’ve been here,” said Moss, a senior. “When you’ve got guys who have heart, who are willing to work and listen and pay attention to the details, then we’ve got a chance to win.”
Moss hasn’t won much lately, enduring a 20-39 record the last two seasons. So when it was clear Indiana State (4-0) was about to knock off its in-state rival for the third time in four meetings, Moss couldn’t restrain his excitement.
He raced toward the baseline to greet students who ran right past him as they stormed the court. The students then danced on the Sycamores’ midcourt logo for several minutes while the band played.
It was Indiana State’s first win over a ranked team since beating Oklahoma 70-68 in a first-round NCAA tournament game on March 16, 2001. The Sycamores also are off to their best start in 20 years.
For the Hoosiers (4-2), it was a night of frustration.
They blew a double-digit lead, thanks in part to yielding 22 points off their 22 turnovers and not finding a way to contain either Moss or Schnitker once they got going in the final 18 minutes. Schnitker hit five 3s and finished with a career-high in points. Moss added nine rebounds.
“Twenty-two turnovers is not characteristic of our team,” Hoosiers swingman Robert Vaden said. “We didn’t play like a team tonight, that’s something we have to work on.”
Coach Mike Davis was an even harsher critic.
He was upset with the Hoosiers’ poor shot selection, giving up 13 second-chance points and a stretch in which they appeared to relax. Ben Allen finished with 21 points, his second straight career-high, and seven rebounds. Vaden added 12 points and Marco Killingsworth had 10 points and eight rebounds.
But against Indiana State, Davis knew no lead was safe.
“Eleven points is no good with their shooters,” he said. “I knew they wouldn’t quit.”
Indiana appeared to take control with a late 11-2 flurry near the end of the first half, then emerged from the locker room and scored the first six points of the second half to build a 41-30 lead with 18:30 left.
Sycamores coach Royce Waltman, a former Indiana assistant under Bob Knight, called time-out and Indiana State got itself righted.
Schnitker started the comeback by hitting a 3-pointer. Then Moss made two free throws and when the 18-2 run ended—fittingly with Schnitker’s breakaway layup with 13:18 to go—the Sycamores led 48-43.
“Those shots come from David and Gabe (Moore) because they’re such smart players,” Schnitker said. “They’ll collapse on them and kick it back out.”
Another quick 8-1 scoring burst by Indiana State midway through the second half extended the lead to 63-52 with 6:05 left.
“I don’t know what the answer is for the difference in the second half,” Waltman said. “Other than the fact that maybe our kids saw some things a little better.”
Allen’s layup sparked a 9-0 Indiana run that got the Hoosiers within 63-61. Then came a 6-2 spurt that closed the gap to 68-67 with 34 seconds left.
But the Sycamores dug in. Moore hit two free throws with 28.4 seconds left, and the Hoosiers missed two potentially tying 3-pointers on the next possession.
Freshman Jay Tunnell sealed the upset by making two more free throws with 6.6 seconds left, and that sent the large crowd clad mostly in the Sycamores’ blue-and-white streaming onto the court as the buzzer sounded.
“This is a great win for us, but hopefully we’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Waltman said. “I’m particularly excited for our two seniors, David and Darron Evans, because of all the things they’ve been through.”