Indiana State started off very fast against Belmont on Thursday. Coming out of the locker room at half, the Sycamores had a 49-33 advantage against Belmont. Indiana State would surrender 63 second half points and lose to Belmont 96-95. After squandering away a sure road victory, the Sycamores would travel Sunday to face 21st ranked Notre Dame.
After a quick start, the Sycamore took a 40-30 lead into halftime. The first five minutes of the second half were shades of the Belmont game, as the Irish started the half on a 15-2 run to take the lead at 45-44. For the next eight minutes, the Sycamores would go on a run of their own to put the fans in Terre Haute at ease. The 18-3 run in that span put the game out of reach.
Sycamore center Justin Gant put on a clinic in the second half. His statistics do not reflect the impact he had in the contest (17 points 4 rebounds 2 assists), but his ability to get position in the paint disrupted Notre Dame to the point where they were forced to double down on Gant on the block. The preoccupation with Gant allowed the Sycamores to shower uncontested three pointers for a majority of the second half.
Indiana State shot an impressive 11-20 clip from outside. The three point shot, commonly referred to as “The Great Equalizer,” allowed the Sycamores to keep the Irish from mounting a second comeback in the second half. Indiana State also went 16-17 from the charity stripe to put the game on ice. With an 83-70 victory, the Sycamores snapped Notre Dame head coach Mike Bray’s unblemished 48-0 home record in November. The previously unblemished mark had stood for 14 years.
The Sycamores appear to have fixed their second half struggles from their previous contest, and padded their resume for March with an early win on the road against a ranked opponent. The Missouri Valley Conference appears to be a two-horse race between Indiana State and Wichita State. The two will not square off until Jan. 18, which is likely the next time Indiana State will face a ranked opponent.
Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyOCS.