Listen Live
PraiseIndy Featured Video
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 03 Drake at Indiana State

Source: Icon Sportswire / Getty

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — There was nary a seat, nor a place to stand, inside the Hulman Center on Sunday. Fans from all over Terre Haute, and the state for that matter, packed inside to watch Indiana State continue to shut down the doubters as they compiled their 30th win of the season.

The Sycamores welcomed the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Big Ten to their home floor and led from start to finish upending them 76-64. It was a refreshing win for head coach Josh Schertz, especially after they had to play from behind against SMU on Wednesday.

“It was good to establish a temp,” Schertz said “They are really big, really athletic. We had to be disciplined and play off two feet. We generated really quality shots.”

It seemed almost destiny for Indiana State as the Trees shot brilliantly like they seemingly always do, while Minnesota, who beat Butler to get to this second-round match-up with ISU, struggled to find any kind of rhythm.

A quick 9-0 spurt for the Sycamore gave the daylight they needed to play with 10:00 left to play in the first half. By late in the first half the Sycamore lead swelled to 31-15 with Ryan Conwell leading the way scoring.

However, Minnesota’s rebounding game is what kept the game from getting out of hand. Second-chance opportunities led to the Gophers finally getting some life on offense as they cut the ISU lead to 36-28 with 55.4 seconds left to play in the 1st half.

ISU took a 38-28 lead to the locker room.

Indiana State was 5-of-13 shooting from behind the arc in the 1st half. The hot shooting would cool off a bit for the Trees as they would hit only one of their next eight 3-point shots in the opening stanza of the 2nd half.

This allowed Minnesota to slowly cut into the ISU lead, making every fan in the Hulman Center sit on the edge of their seat. Though it got tense, hope was never lost as ISU’s defense made up for the shortfall.

“It takes a lot of mental toughness to miss that many quality shots and not let it affect your defense,” said Schertz. “We didn’t let it affect our defense which I was super proud of.”

The sure passing of Robbie Avila and company worked to perfection as well in that stretch.

Avila had another slow scoring night finishing with 11 points total, but he led the team in assists (7). The flowing offense led to the machine being oiled once again, opening up the likes of Conwell, Julian Larry, and Jayson Kent to carry the offense.

For the night Conwell hit 6-of-8 from 3-point range finishing with 23 points. Conwell hit each of his first six shots from behind the arc. Kent added a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Larry added 16 points of his own.

“Every game I trust my shot,” said Conwell. “Without my teammates getting me in position to take those shots, it doesn’t work. I’m thankful they went in tonight.”

Minnesota simply ran out of physical and emotional gass as the Sycamore crowd packed inside the Hulman Center quite literally sucked the life out of the Gophers and into their squad that, despite being left out of March Madness, has captured the hearts and minds of all in the state of Indiana.

“There is a special connection between this team and this fanbase,” Schertz said. “This year has been the best it’s been. It’s humbling. It existed long before I got here, but not on this level.”

The victory gives Indiana State 30 wins on the season, only the second time ever the program has eclipsed the 30-win benchmark, and another home game in the NIT as they will face their second American Conference foe of this post-season. The Cincinnati Bearcats defeated Bradley with ease on Saturday, giving them yet another MVC opponent to contend with in the Sycamores.

The Bearcats and Sycamores square off on Tuesday at 9 pm EDT inside the Hulman Center in the NIT quarterfinals.

The post 30 Feels Fine! ISU Beats Minnesota, Advances To NIT Quarterfinals appeared first on WIBC 93.1 FM.

30 Feels Fine! ISU Beats Minnesota, Advances To NIT Quarterfinals  was originally published on