SYCAMORES DIAL UP DEFENSE TO TAKE OUT EVANSVILLE
Credit Source: Indiana State University Athletics
SAINT LOUIS – The Indiana State men’s basketball team battled to a hard-fought victory over Evansville in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Friday afternoon, dialing up the defense to defeat the Purple Aces 53-43 at the Enterprise Center.
ISU (15-9) improves to 28-0 in the Greg Lansing era when holding opponents under 53 points in a game, and now advances to play No. 20 in the country and top tournament seed Loyola Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on CBS Sports Network.
Senior Tyreke Key led the Sycamores in scoring on the afternoon, scoring a game-high 19 points while also grabbing a team-best 9 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup after missing the last two games of the regular season. Sophomore Tre Williams was the only other Sycamore to finish in double-figures on the afternoon, scoring 10 with six rebounds and a block. Fellow sophomore Jake LaRavia had eight points and pulled down nine boards.
With buckets hard to come by in the second half, junior Cooper Neese knocked down two crucial threes to keep Indiana State ahead. With the game still close in the waning moments, Key stepped up for ISU, scoring the final six points and going 4-for-4 from the free throw line to put the game on ice.
The game was an offensive struggle, as both teams shot well below their season averages. Indiana State, however, held the overall advantage from the floor (40.4 percent to 34.7 percent) and the three-point line (33.3 percent to 23.5 percent). Indiana State, after trailing in rebounding at the half, finished with more than Evansville, 33 to 31, and also had more assists (8 to 7), steals (6 to 5), points in the paint (28 to 18), and committed fewer turnovers (8 to 11).
Indiana State’s victory over Evansville was the ninth consecutive win over the Purple Aces for the Sycamores, while the 43 points by UE were the fewest scored by a team in the MVC Tournament since 2016.