TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA---The ball was tipped and the 2015-2016 college basketball season was under way from Terre Haute. Tonight an intra-state battle between the IUPUI Jaguars and the Indiana State Sycamores began the newest campaigns for the teams. Yet, while "the Forest" and the crowd were ready for hoops inside the Hulman Center, a few minutes, specifically 2 minutes and 41 seconds, passed before the home team realized it was game time.
Taking advantage of the time it took for the leaf to fall off the tree, IUPUI ran out to a quick 5-0 lead, which they eventually widened to 20-12 on the shoulders of Loyola-Chicago transfers Matt O'Leary and Nick Osborne. However, the lead did not stay large as the Sycamores' Devonte Brown and 2014-2015 MVC Freshman of the Year Brenton Scott brought their team within three with 6:37 remaining in the first half.
Nevertheless, the Jaguars' were able to blossom their margin even higher than originally (38-28) with only minutes to go until halftime. Simply, IUPUI was looking to have full momentum going into recess. Or that was until JUCO transfer Everett Clemons went on a personal 6-2 run to close the first twenty minutes at the score of 38-32 road team.
The momentum was finally stolen by Indiana State, but could they turn it into points after the break?
The second half, as the first, began with a missed attempt, this time a layup by Indiana State's Khristian Smith. "Here we go again" thought the Sycamores faithful. Though this time, the drought did not last as long and once the flood gate opened, it stayed as such for quite a while
Led by the terrific trio of Devonte Brown, Khristian Smith, and Brenton Scott, the Sycamores posted 16 points in the same time IUPUI added only 2 to take the lead as well as extend it to 6.
But one must remember, every team has its comeback run. It just happened, the maroon and tan cashed theirs in at the most crucial time. Starting with an Evan Hall layup, the Jaguars outscored their opponent 20-7 to cause the Hulman Center to become as silent as a church.
At this time, IUPUI was licking their chops with a 60-53 lead (6:18 remaining), and time was running out for Indiana State. Was it possible to rally again? Of course! But would it be too late? Yes, yes it would.
Although senior Khristian Smith did all he could to bring the Sycamores back from the ashes one more time (eight points in the final five minutes), Indiana State fell by the final score of 72-70 (Brenton Scott nailed a three pointer at the end to draw the deficit to two).
What Can Brown Do For You?
While it is always disappointing to fall in a home opener, Devonte Brown has no reason to hang his head this evening. Brown, one of three seniors, could not have started the new season off any better, for he dropped a game-high 25 points on 8 for 17 shooting from the floor. It will be interesting to see if the 2014-2015 MVC second teamer will be able to replicate his great performance when matched up against Wyoming guard Josh Adams, who averaged 12.6 points per game last year.
With the avenging of last year's loss, Jason Gardner's squad will head north to face Marquette before traveling south to take on NC State. For Indiana State, the Sycamores have a very quick turnaround as they will attempt to rebound against 2015 NCAA Tournament team Wyoming. Make sure to check back Monday evening since VAVEL US will once again supply a recap from the Hulman Center.