ST. LOUIS- Indiana State basketball saw its season end Thursday night at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, falling to the No. 9 seed from Illinois State 58- 53 inside the Enterprise Center.
The Sycamores led by no less than 10 points at 43-33 with 11:45 left in the second half, but went on a cold streak late as the Redbirds finished the game on a 25-10 run to advance in Arch Madness . ILS managed to hold the Sycamores scoreless in the final 3:44 of action.
ISU had late opportunities to close the gap, but missed free throws proved costly. All-MVC player Antonio Reeves was held down in the first half, scoring just four points. Reeves was able to get things going in the final 20 minutes shooting 5 of 8 from the field, including a pair of quick dunks off ISU turnovers to finish with 15 points to lead the Redbirds.
junior striker Kailex Stephens hit double digits for the 15th time this season and sixth straight game as he led the Sycamores with 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting to go with seven rebounds. Second year Zach Hobbs tied Stephens with a team-high 12 points, coming off the bench to hit four 3-pointers
Julian Larry led the ISU with eight rebounds to go with four points as the defensive specialist held Reeves to 7 for 15 shooting. Second year guard Xavier Bledson extended his free throw streak to 27, making two free throws in the second half.
Cooper Neese scored a 3-pointer in all but four games this season but finished with just five points in the game – falling short of double-digit points for only the eighth time this season and third straight game.
Indiana State turned the ball over 14 times in the game, allowing the Redbirds 17 points on errors.
Hobbs connected on a 3-point trio in the first half and seven other Sycamores joined him in the scoring column to help Indiana State take a 28-23 halftime lead. Cameron Henry added six points for ISU, including two missed dunks.
It was the defense that pushed Indiana State to a lead as ISU held the Redbirds 30 percent (10-33) from the field in the first half. After Illinois State connected on its first two triples of the game to take a 6-0 lead, the Sycamores held ILS to 1 for 12 from deep to end first half action.
The loss extended Sycamore’s losing streak to six games, the longest losing streak of the season for Indiana State. The Sycamores closed the season with an 11-20, 27-39 all-time record in the MVC tournament, including 3-6 against the Redbirds. Indiana State fails to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals for the first time since 2019. Indiana State made seven treys tonight and tied a school season record of 270 treys for a season… Indiana State has now reached five or more 3-pointers in all but two games this season (2/8 vs. Evansville and 2/12 vs. Illinois State)… Indiana State drops to 8-10 in games they’ve led at halftime and 2-15 when passed in a game this season.
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