Feb. 11, 2012
By Tom Weber
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State entered today's game as the worst 3-point shooting team in the Missouri Valley Conference. For 40 minutes on Saturday at the Hulman Center, however, ISU couldn't miss -- literally.
Indiana State set an NCAA record by making all 12 of its 3-point shots in a 78-68 win over Southern Illinois. It was quite a sight to behold.
"They probably couldn't do that in practice," SIU head coach Chris Lowery said. "That's an incredible feat what they did."
Jordan Printy made all six of his attempts from downtown for the Sycamores (15-11, 6-9), who moved into eighth place in the league standings, a game ahead of SIU. He had been mired in a season-long slump, converting just 26 percent in conference play.
"I'm so happy for JP with the year he's having and the struggles he's had," said Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing. "We all believe in him."
As a team, the Sycamores were shooting just 29 percent against Valley opponents. Carl Richard, Dwayne Lathan and Lucas Eitel each made 2-of-2 from outside the arc to contribute to the record-setting performance.
"That's something," said Lansing, who was unaware of the record until informed by a reporter during his press conference. "I thought we shared the ball well and had a lot of open looks. (Southern Illinois) is a very good helping team, so we made the extra pass."
Indiana State was coming off a crippling road loss to last-place Bradley on Wednesday night, and Lansing was unsure how his team would respond. Eight triples in the first half were a pretty good indication, though his team led just 34-32 at intermission. ISU upped the ante in the second half by making 80 percent from the field, converting 12-of-15 shots.
"I think in the first half we had a Bradley hangover, the head coach included," Lansing said. "There's a lot of frustration when you're not playing well and losing games. You either give in and make excuses, blame somebody else or stand in there and fight. I think the team is going to fight."
The way Indiana State shot the ball, the game could have been a blowout, but the Salukis (8-18, 5-10) trailed by just one, 48-47, with 11:26 remaining. That's when ISU went on a 12-1 run to take control of the game.
"It was our shot selection in the guts of the game that really allowed them to get away from us," said Lowery. "We needed to keep going inside because they were really struggling with Dantiel (Daniels)."
The Salukis' freshman center had his second-career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
"Daniels was a load," Lansing said. "We helped to him at times, we didn't at other times, but he was the only guy who really hurt us a lot."
Lowery said the initial game plan was to allow Indiana State to shoot the 3-ball.
"We played the percentages in the first half because they had really been struggling to shoot the basketball," he explained. "(We used) short closeouts -- make those guys shoot over the top, and they made eight of them."
By the time Southern changed its strategy, it was too late.
"Not all of them were open, either," Lowery said. "We even tried zone to try to stretch them out, and Lathan makes a 24-footer on the right wing."
With three games remaining in the conference season, the Salukis appear headed for a Thursday night game at the tournament for the third year in row.
"When you get to St. Louis, anything can happen," Lowery said. "We haven't given up all year."