By Craig Phelps
St. Louis, MO- It was a slow paced, defensive struggle between the Evansville Purple Aces and the Indiana State Sycamores during the evenings last game on Friday night of March Madness. With the game going back and forth, it almost seemed fitting that the fate of these two teams come down to the last second of the game.
With a half second left on the clock, Indiana State’s Jake Odum pulled up from the free-throw line to sink the game’s winning shot. It was just Odum’s third field goal of the game, but his thirteenth points.
“They rally around Jake. (Our team) knows he’s a tough kid and a competitor and he comes over and says he wants the ball. He knew I was going to give it to him.” said Greg Lansing, the head coach of the Sycamores.
Afterwards, the team was all smiles inside the locker room.
“We walked in that door and they were all pretty excited. It was a big relief. These guys socked it to us pretty good twice. We wanted to beat them and it was a big relief,” said a smiling coach Lansing.
The Evansville locker room had a different feel to it.
While two players scored in double digits for Indiana State, Jake Odum with 13 and Aaron Carter with 10, just one player moved into double figures for the Purple Aces.
Colt Ryan had 14 points for Evansville, but also had seven turnovers.
“We were rushing things a little bit. We weren’t pump faking and taking our time on passes. Some poor decisions late by myself trying to force passes inside. You can’t win a game in the MVC turning the ball over like that,” the disappointed Ryan comment afterwards.
The Sycamores shot 34.8 percent from the field but that was enough to edge out the Purple Aces, who shot 39.6 percent. The key difference in the game was free-throw shooting; Evansville made 10 of 18 from the line while Indiana State hit 16 of 21 from the charity stripe.
Indiana State moves on to play against Wichita State at 4:05pm on Saturday. The game will be on MVC-TV.