Tere Haute - Led by former Boston Celtic star and three-time NBA MostValuable Player Larry Bird, Indiana State completed a “dreamseason” in 1978-79, finishing the year with a 33-1 record anda trip to the championship game of the NCAA tournament.
The public was shown an early glimpse of what was ahead when, onNovember 20, the touring Soviet National team came to Hulman Centerwhere ISU stunned the Soviets, 83-79, to become one of only fourcollege teams to beat them that season.
ISU sailed through the regular season to finish 29-0, 16-0 inthe Missouri Valley Conference, and earned the top ranking in thecountry.
The perfect slate seemed in jeopardy on Feb. 1 when the 18-0Sycamores trailed at New Mexico State, 83-81, with three secondsremaining and the Aggies at the free throw line. The shot wasmissed, however, and rebounded by Brad Miley and passed to BobHeaton. Heaton launched a 50-foot desperation shot which bankedthrough the net to send the game into overtime and earn stillanother ISU victory. It would not be Heaton’s last heroicshot.
The top seed in the NCAA Midwest Regional was awarded to ISU,and the Sycamores promptly disposed of Virginia Tech and Oklahomabefore facing Arkansas with a berth in the Final Four on the line.With the game tied at 81, the right-handed Heaton was the heroagain with a last second left-handed shot in the lane to send theSycamores to Salt Lake City and a meeting with DePaul.
ISU defeated the Blue Demons, 76-74, to set up the most-watchedcollege basketball game in history -- Indiana State versus MichiganState for the national championship.
The Spartans, led by Ervin “Magic” Johnson and GregKelser, won 75-64 to end the greatest season in Sycamorebasketball.
Coached by Bill Hodges, who took over for an ailing Bob King onOctober 11 and was named NCAA Coach of the Year, the high-scoringSycamores were led by Bird, the NCAA Player of the Year, and his28.6 scoring average. He was followed by Carl Nicks’ 19.3average. The starting lineup also included Miley, Alex Gilbert andSteve Reed. Heaton and Leroy Staley were key reserves. Theremainder of the roster consisted of Tom Crowder, Eric Curry, RodMcNelly, Rich Nemcek, Bob Ritter and Scott Turner.
The entire team was later inducted into the ISU Athletics Hallof Fame in August, 1999.
Courtesy of ISU Media Relations
Thursday night’s church fire in Prairie Creek in Vigo County was still smoldering Friday afternoon.
An assault leaves one man seriously injured.
The warmer weather is a thing of the past, and it's expected to get worse.
Local Marines helped spread some holiday cheer today.
Terre Haute Police filed citations against one Terre Haute towing business earlier this year. Andrews Towing and investigators were in city court Friday morning for the first time.
Seven new Indiana Conservation Officers officially joined the DNR Division of Law Enforcement during graduation ceremonies Friday at the Indiana Government Center South.