Avila, Barnes earn conference player of the week honors

Jan. 23—Two men's basketball standouts at Terre Haute colleges earned player of the week honors in their respective conferences — Indiana State's Robbie Avila in the Missouri Valley and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods' Cobie Barnes in the River States.

The MVC and RSC announced both honors on Monday.

It's Avila's first MVC Player of the Week award in his two-year ISU career.

Avila powered the Sycamore offense to a 2-0 week in the Missouri Valley. The 6-foot- 10 center averaged 22 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists. For the week, he finished 16-for-27 (59.3%) from the field, including shooting 5-for-10 from deep and converting on 7-for-8 from the free throw line.

In an 88-66 win over visiting Missouri State, Avila recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 9-for-15 from the field with three triples, and he recorded a team-high four assists. The sophomore accounted for the first nine points of the Sycamores' 11 to open the game. Six of the nine came from the paint and the final three from the free throw line. He then scored five points of ISU's 7-0 run to close out the first half to take a 14-point lead into the break. This game marked Avila's second-straight double-double.

In a 72-63 win at Murray State, Avila led the offense with 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor, knocking down 2-of-3 from behind the arc and going perfect at the free throw line, 4-for-4. He added seven rebounds and a game-high five assists. Avila recorded 18 of his 20 points all in the second half. He was a key contributor to ISU's 17-2 stretch in the second half that broke the game open for the Sycamores, scoring seven points off back-to-back layups and draining a triple. He then sealed the victory in the final three minutes of the game by knocked down a three with 2:56 remaining, then scoring six points in the last 1:07, converting on all four free-throw attempts to lead Indiana State to the 72-63 victory.

For Saint Mary-of-the-Woods' Cobie Barnes, making shots is the easy part.

It's all the maneuvering and planning done by his fellow Saint Mary-of-the-Woods men's basketball teammates and coaches to facilitate those shots that are the crucial elements of success. That's how Barnes explains his latest recognition as the River States Conference Player of the Week. Barnes won the honor earlier this season, too.

"I really just owe it to my teammates and coaching staff. They always put me in a great position to succeed, and I feel like I have the easy job in making the shots they create for me," Barnes said in a SMWC sports information news release Tuesday.

Barnes matched his career-high with 32 points last Thursday against West Virginia University Tech, adding season-highs with six assists and two blocked shots. Barnes shot 12 of 25 from the field and 6 of 10 from 3-point range.

Barnes added 24 points in a 99-73 victory against Alice Lloyd on Saturday, shooting 9 of 17 overall and 3 of 7 from beyond the arc. Barnes added another five assists and two steals as the Pomeroys extended their winning streak to eight games.

The Floyds Knobs, Ind., native averaged 28 points and 5.5 assists in the two dominant Pomeroy victories.

SMWC's conference record stands at 8-0, maintaining its spot alone atop the league standings. Barnes ranks 14th in the nation in scoring at 22.5 ppg for SMWC (14-4).

During league-only games, Barnes ranks third in the RSC in points-per-game (23.8), sixth in rebounds (7.9), sixth in assists (3.3) and 5th in 3-pointers per game (2.6).

The Pomeroys hit the road for a big week, playing No. 21-ranked Point Park on Thursday and Shawnee State on Saturday.

"We have been playing a really good brand of basketball right now and if we keep improving daily, I think we have a good chance to beat anyone," Barnes said.