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Indiana State runs away from Creighton, 76-57

The SportsXchange

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Indiana State's student section chanted "overrated" as their Sycamores continued to roll past Creighton.

Indiana State coach Greg Lansing doesn't buy it, but his team sure made it look that way. Jake Odum scored 22 points, and Indiana State defeated the 16th-ranked Bluejays 76-57 Wednesday night in a Missouri Valley Conference game.

Lansing gave the Bluejays credit, perhaps noting that a rematch in the conference tournament is a possibility.

"They're as good a team as I've ever seen in the Valley," Lansing said. "I've got great respect for them. We know how talented they are."

That talent wasn't on display at the Hulman Center. Indiana State led by 11 at halftime and extended its lead to 28 points with 4:36 remaining. The Sycamores made it a point not to let up.

"Earlier in the season, we didn't quite finish games," Odum said. "We let teams battle back. A team like Creighton, you can't let them get going, you can't let them get the threes going."

It was Indiana State's second win over a ranked opponent in its past three games. The Sycamores defeated then-No. 15 Wichita State 68-55 on Jan. 29.

Creighton coach Greg McDermott struggled to find answers.

"We haven't had this happen to us in a couple years," he said. "I'm not sure why it happened tonight, but I think Indiana State had an awful lot to do with it. They executed their defensive game plan to perfection. We were a half a step slow on that end of the floor and I thought we got caught standing too much and the ball didn't move for us like it normally moves."

Odum surpassed 1,000 career points in the game. The junior guard entered the contest needing 21 points to reach the milestone. R.J. Mahurin scored 17 points and Manny Arop added 13 for the Sycamores (15-8, 8-4 MVC).

Doug McDermott, a first-team All-American last year who was averaging 24 points per game this season, shot 3-for-10 and scored eight points Wednesday. He had scored in double figures every game this season except for a five-point effort in the second game, Nov. 14 against UAB.

"We tried to really make it tough for him to make a catch," Lansing said. "He is so good with their transition. He'll sprint and he'll get an early post-up, or they'll pitch it back to him for a three. We just wanted to stay attached to him. He's a first-team All-American. I hope he gets player of the year in the country, and he's relentless."

Will Artino scored 13 points and Greg Echenique and Grant Gibbs added eight for the Bluejays, whose previous scoring low this season was 64 points against Wichita State on Jan. 19.

"They missed some of the shots they normally make, but it started with our defense," Arop said. "We didn't let them get in a rhythm."

Creighton (20-4, 9-3) had won four straight in the series, including a 79-66 win in Omaha on Jan. 5. The Bluejays now have lost three of their past six after starting the season with a 17-1 record. Creighton remained a half-game ahead of Wichita State for the conference lead.

Mahurin converted a three-point play early in the second half to push Indiana State's lead to 39-24, and a long 2-pointer by Odum increased the Sycamores' lead to 43-26 with 17:20 to go.

Mahurin's 3-pointer gave Indiana State a 48-27 lead, and a 3-pointer by Lucas Eitel made it 56-33 with just under 12 minutes to play. Another 3 by Mahurin made it 68-42 with about five minutes remaining.

Indiana State ran out to a 13-8 lead, but a 3-pointer by McDermott tied the score at 13.

The Sycamores took a 24-18 lead on a reverse layup by Khristian Smith.

Odum scored and was fouled with 2:07 left in the first half. He made the free throw to give Indiana State a 31-22 lead.

The Sycamores led 35-24 at halftime. They did not have a turnover in the first 20 minutes and held Creighton to 9-for-23 shooting.

It only got worse for the Bluejays after the break.

"They were the aggressor, and they controlled the game from the opening tip," coach McDermott said.

NOTES: Indiana State defeated Miami on Dec. 25. The Hurricanes are ranked No. 8 in the latest AP poll. ... The Sycamores entered the night 1-4 against Top 25 teams this season. In addition to the win over Wichita State, Indiana State beat Ole Miss 87-85 in overtime on Dec. 22. The Rebels had the most votes this week among teams that missed out on the AP Top 25. ... The victory was the 1,400th all-time for the Sycamores.
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