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Indiana State clamps down on No. 15 Wichita State

The SportsXchange

WICHITA, Kan. -- Indiana State joined the ranks of Missouri Valley Conference contenders by beating No. 15 Wichita State at the things the Shockers usually do well.

Indiana State ended Wichita State's 19-game home win streak with a 68-55 victory at Koch Arena on Tuesday.

The Sycamores won the defensive battle by holding the Shockers to a season-low 27.1-percent field-goal shooting. They out-rebounded the Shockers and grabbed every meaningful loose ball. They executed their offense crisply enough to make 53.3 percent of their shots and become the only opponent to make more than half their shots against Wichita State.

"There is plenty of blame to go around, starting with me," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "We'll have to figure it out."

Indiana State (14-7, 7-3 Missouri Valley Conference) can consider itself in the race. Wichita State (19-3, 8-2) leads No. 21 Creighton by a half-game. Right behind are the Sycamores, who also added an impressive victory to their NCAA Tournament at-large resume.

"We took them out of rhythm a little bit, from the things they like to do," Indiana State coach Greg Lansing said. "That first half, I told (Marshall), that was as well as we've played."

Indiana State dominated the game with a 2-3 zone defense that forced the Shockers to shoot jump shots and kept the pace slow. Wichita State made six baskets in the second half, one in the final seven minutes.

"We couldn't score inside," Marshall said. "We can't guard them inside. They beat us on the glass. There were so many things that were not the norm."

Wichita State could not work the ball inside to its post scorers. The zone often forced them to work deep into the shot clock before taking difficult shots.

"We made them into a jump-shooting team," Indiana State forward Manny Arop said.

WSU trailed 50-48 with seven minutes remaining and 56-50 with 4:04 to play. Indiana State didn't need much more. The Shockers made three free throws, not scoring from the field until Malcolm Armstead's layup with 21 seconds to play.

Cleanthony Early led WSU with 15 points. Arop led the Sycamores with 17, including a layup that made it 56-50.

Indiana State led 39-28 at halftime. WSU started the second half with a 7-0 run, aided by the crowd and mistakes by Indiana State. The Sycamores, looking rattled, missed their first five shots and then committed three turnovers. The Shockers cut Indiana State's lead to 39-35.

"We just kept sticking with the game plan," Arop said. "We stayed poise and not let the crowd get us. We're a veteran team."

Indiana State survived that challenge, relying on a zone defense to slow the tempo and keep the Shockers out of the lane. The Sycamores led 50-43 when WSU rallied again, cutting the lead to 50-48.

The Sycamores set the stage for an upset with a strong finish to the first half. Down 25-24, they finished the half on a 15-3 run. R.J. Mahurin made the biggest play of the first half, swishing a three-pointer and drawing a foul. His four-point play gave Indiana State a 37-28 lead with 34.7 seconds to play.

WSU tried to play for the last shot. Like much in the first half, it didn't work. Indiana State's Khristian Smith stole a pass and scored for a 39-28 lead at halftime.

The Sycamores held WSU to 10-of-31 shooting in the first half and out-rebounded it 17-15. Twelve points off offensive rebounds stunned the Shockers, who normally own that statistic.

Indiana State matched Wichita State's power on the backboards early in the game. The Sycamores scored six second-chance points on four offensive rebounds, helping them lead 18-15. Their zone defense kept Wichita State off balance. The Shockers often went deep into the shot clock probing the zone and ended up with a tough shot.

NOTES: Mahurin made his fourth career four-point play late in the first half. ... Indiana State on at Koch Arena for the first time since 2004, snapping an eight-game losing streak. ... Early also grabbed 11 rebounds, matching his season high. ... Wichita State's record for home wins is 22, set during the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.
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