Indiana State/Seton Hall to clash in NIT Final

Indiana State/Seton Hall to clash in NIT Final

(The following is credit sourced to Indiana State University)

Sycamores earn first-ever trip to NIT Championship with win over Utes

 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana State broke open a one-possession game midway through the second half and built a double-digit lead with just under eight minutes remaining as the Sycamores topped Utah, 100-90, to advance to Thursday night’s NIT Championship Game.


Photo by: Tony Harper/Indiana Sports Network

The Sycamores (32-6) advance to Thursday night’s NIT Championship Game and will take on the winner of Seton Hall and Georgia at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Tipoff of the game is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Indiana State advances to the NIT Championship Game for the first time in program history after topping SMU (101-92), Minnesota (76-64), Cincinnati (85-81), and Utah. ISU’s 32 wins are also the second-most all-time in program history trailing just the 1978-79 team that went 33-1.

Key performances from Ryan Conwell (27 points, four three-pointers) and Robbie Avila (26 points, 10 rebounds) highlighted the back-and-forth game played in Hinkle Fieldhouse before the Sycamores seized control of the game midway through the second half.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Indiana Sports Network

The Sycamores and Utes (22-15) were tied 50-50 with 17:10 remaining as the teams’ traded baskets throughout the opening minutes of the second half. Utah’s Branden Carlson scored seven consecutive points capped by a layup with 15:54 remaining to give the Utes the 54-53 edge early in the final period.

Isaiah Swope answered with a layup two possessions later giving Indiana State the 55-54 lead as the lead changed hands for the fourth time in the game and Avila and Swope added points in the paint to put the Sycamores ahead 59-54 with 12:42 remaining. The Sycamores kept the two-possession lead over the next three minutes, going ahead by eight on Julian Larry’s layup at the 9:26 mark, before Deivon Smith’s three-pointer cut the lead down to 68-63.

Conwell answered on the other end with a three-point play making the layup and sinking the free throw to give the Sycamores the 71-63 advantage, before back-to-back three-pointers from Xavier Bledson and Larry gave ISU a double-digit 77-66 lead with 7:36 to play in the contest.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Indiana Sports Network

The lead remained double-digits the rest of the way as the Sycamores answered every Utah basket with one of their own, going up by as many as 15 with 3:27 remaining on an Avila layup to put the score at 89-74. Jayson Kent provided the cap on the day with a dunk with 1:13 to pay and Avila put in the final ISU points to help the Sycamores hit the century mark with a layup with 38 seconds remaining to close out the 100-90 win.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Indiana Sports Network

The Sycamores jumped out of the gates strong going on a 10-0 run early in the first half in building a 17-7 lead on a pair of Larry free throws at the 14:13 mark. Avila scored 11 of ISU’s first 14 points in the game hitting a trio of early three-pointers, while Ryan Conwell and Larry combined for 12 early points as the Sycamores continued to press their advantage in building a 21-13 lead with 12:41 remaining in the first half.

Utah battled back with a run of their own cutting a 28-17 deficit down to a three-point game on several occasions, before taking the lead at 34-33 with 4:58 remaining on Smith’s fast-break layup. The two teams battled it out the rest of the half with Conwell making a late layup with three seconds remaining to send the game into the break tied 44-44.

Conwell paced the Sycamores with 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including a 4-of-11 mark from the three-point line. He added six rebounds and four assists, while blocking a shot. Avila finished with a 26-point, 10-rebound double-double as the Sycamore center posted an 11-of-14 shooting night including a 3-of-5 game from behind the three-point line.

Swope scored all 15 of his points in the second half, while Larry added 15 points and eight assists to highlight the ISU offense on the day as the Sycamores shot 56.9% from the floor as a team in the win.

Smith was the leading scorer on the night as the Utah guard finished with a game-high 28 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 from the three-point line in the loss. He led five Utes in double-digits with Carlson (17), Cole Bajema (14), Carlson (11), and Hunter Erickson (10) also hitting the mark on Tuesday night.

News & Notes

  • Indiana State with its 32nd win is in sole possession of the second-most wins in program history.
  • Indiana State recorded its second 100-point game of the NIT (101 versus SMU).
  • The Sycamores shot an astounding 80.65% from inside the three-point line (25-for-31).
  • With 22 assists on the night, ISU has recorded 20+ assists as a team in three of the last four games.
  • The team’s field goal percentage of 59.6% is the best since the MVC Tournament Semifinals against UNI.
  • The 50 paint points are the most for Indiana State since February 21 at Valparaiso (56).
  • With Ryan Conwell’s 27 and Robbie Avila’s 26 points, it’s the second time this tournament two Sycamores have recorded 25+ point games (versus SMU, Kent (35) and Conwell (25).
  • Ryan Conwell tied his career high of 27 points, also set at a neutral site in Indianapolis. Conwell scored 27 in the Indy Classic against Ball State in December at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
  • Robbie Avila’s double-double is his fifth of the season. His 10 rebounds are the most since February 3 versus Drake (11).
  • Averaging 3.0 RPG, Isaiah Swope recorded back-to-back six-rebound games.

Up Next
Indiana State plays for its first NIT Championship on Thursday against the winner of Seton Hall and Georgia. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

In the second semifinal of the night, Seton Hall downed Georgia 84 to 67.

Seton Hall improves to 24 and 12 while Georgia falls to 20 and 17.

The Pirates were led by Al-Amir Dawes with 20 points and six assists with Lawrence Central graduate Dre Davis 19 points and nine rebounds.

Kadary Richmond added 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists along with Jaden Bediako 14 points with seven rebounds.

Sanders added eleven points for the Pirates.

R J Melendez scored nine from the bench and Justin Hill added eight.

Georgia was led by Silas Demary Jr. led the scoring with 19 points while Noah Thompson added 10 points.

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