Desmar Jackson led SIU with 19 points.
Feb. 15, 2014
By Tom Weber
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Behind senior point guard Jake Odum, Indiana State rallied from a seven-point deficit to top Southern Illinois, 60-57, on Saturday in front of a boisterous crowd of 5,420 at the Hulman Center.
The Sycamores (20-6, 11-3) trailed, 44-37, with 12:51 remaining, but Odum took over the game on the offensive end of the floor, slicing and dicing SIU's defense to rally his club. After being held to two points in the first half, he finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists on the afternoon.
The Salukis (10-17, 6-8) controlled the pace of the game with long possessions on offense, while dropping into a 2-3 zone defense that often stymied ISU. The strategy worked until Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing moved Odum into the high post position on offense. From there, he was able to penetrate the lane and create shots for himself and others.
"I think what Greg and his staff did in adjustments in the second half were really good," SIU head coach Barry Hinson said. "Jake made plays. It wasn't just the shots that he made. It's what he did (passing)."
Odum highlighted an 11-0 ISU run with a conventional three-point play, followed by a picture-perfect dish to Jake Kitchell for another three-point score that juiced up the crowd and gave the Sycamores a 48-44 lead they never relinquished.
"(Jake's) just competitive, he wants to win," Lansing said. "His body is beat up. He's not near 100 percent. There was a look in his eye at Bradley (last Wednesday) that was unbelievable. He just took over. Here, he picked us up in a huge spurt."
Southern was a two-man shown on offense with Desmar Jackson (19 points) and Anthony Beane (18 points) providing all but 20 of the team's point total.
"Desmar Jackson -- they've got NBA guys in here looking at that guy, and Anthony Beane could play anywhere," Lansing said. "Best hire in the world was Coach Hinson hiring his dad because he's a terrific player."
Beane hit a 3-pointer with 6:58 to go that cut the deficit to 50-48, and drilled a two-pointer to bring Southern within 52-50 with 5:10 remaining. That's as close as SIU would come because Odum answered with a clutch 3-pointer at the 3:54 mark and the shot clock about to expire that gave his team a 55-50 lead.
"We put Jake up there (at high post) and obviously, he's going to make good things happen," said Lansing, whose team was just 4-for-18 from 3-point. "You have to attack that area of the zone and get them to collapse a little bit and kick it back out. If we make a couple more threes, maybe it's not quite as nerve-wracking toward the end."
Down 58-52, SIU managed to scrap back into it when Jackson grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed Sean O'Brien free throw, and then completed a three-point play with 2:25 to go.
The Salukis had two chances to send the game to overtime in the final moments. With the score 60-57, Jackson missed a 3-pointer with eight seconds to go, Beane grabbed the rebound and dribbled back outside the arc, but he, too, missed a trey with three seconds left. Beane grabbed his own rebound and Southern called timeout with 0.3 seconds on the clock -- not enough time to attempt another shot.
"(Beane) got an open look -- an open look by one of your best players," Hinson said. "If I could have it to do over again, I wish we would have shot-faked, got him up in the air and we would have gotten three free throws."
While Jackson and Beane were stellar at the guards, Indiana State had a major advantage in the paint. The Sycamores blocked 10 shots and held Southern to 13-of-38 shooting on two-point shot attempts. The Sycamores were also much better at the free throw line, making 14-of-18, compared to 13-of-24 for SIU. O'Brien was 1-for-5 and Jalen Pendleton 1-for-4 from the line.
"Two guys specifically went 2-for-9," Hinson said. "It's hard to win when you do that."
With two weeks and four games left in the regular season, the Salukis have their backs against the wall as they try to earn one of the coveted top six seeds at the conference tournament. They probably need to win three of the remaining four games.
"Today I thought was a statement game -- a game we could gauge on -- and we're just not quite there yet," Hinson said. "But, as the assistants told me in the locker room, we control our own destiny. We do not want to play on Thursday night. That's our goal."
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