TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - For the first time since a span between 1960-64 Indiana State basketball has won at least 17 regular season games in a row for four consecutive seasons thanks a Dawon Cummings lay-up with four seconds left which propelled the Sycamores to a 65-64 victory over Iona in the Ramada Worldwide Bracketbusters Series in front of 4,378 fans inside Hulman Center.
ISU stopped a three-game skid with the victory and improved to 17-11 while Iona fell to 15-13. The Sycamores also stopped a three-game Bracketbusters skid and now stand at 4-5 all-time in the scheduling concept.
Indiana State hit 25-of-62 shots from the field (40.3 percent) while limiting Iona to a 22-of-59 mark (37.3 percent). The Sycamores owned a 40-39 edge on the glass, but trailed 14-12 in second chance points.
The Sycamores had 18 assists in the game off of 25 made field goals. Justin Gant and Arop had two blocks each.
Cummings finished the game with 13 points, including a lay-up off a feed from Jake Odum with four seconds remaining to push the Sycamores ahead 65-64. ISU was paced in scoring by RJ Mahurin who scored 16 points as he was 6-of-11 from the field while Manny Arop posted a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Odum also finished with double figures scoring as he tallied 10 points with seven assists, four rebounds and two steals in 37 minutes of action.
A pair of Lamont Jones free throws with 3:51 remaining tied the game for the ninth time at 58. Arop countered with a pair of free throws of his own to surge the Sycamores ahead 60-58 with 2:48 on the clock.
Jones answered with a tough jumper at the 2:22 mark and after Mahurin missed a leaner, Jones gave the Gaels the lead at the 1:40 mark with another score to put Iona up 62-60.
Odum found himself open for a 3-pointer at the top of the key with 1:13 remaining to put the Sycamores ahead 63-62 with 1:13 left before the Sycamores forced two missed shots but David Laurey hauled in the final rebound at the 29 second mark when a jump ball was called.
Sean Armand was fouled with nine seconds left and hit both free throws to push Iona ahead 64-63, but Odum found Cummings with the game winner as he layed the ball in and was fouled with four seconds left for the 65-64 lead. Cummings missed the free throws and Iona tried a desperation half court shot at the buzzer which was well short and ISU held on for the victory.
Mahurin came out of the gate hot as he hit each of first two 3-point attempts while Cummings also scored a lay-up for an 8-2 lead just over two minutes in and forced Iona to call their first timeout.
The Gaels whittled the Sycamore lead down to just 8-6, but the Sycamores scored the the next seven points, including an Odum 3-pointer and a lay-up from Arop for a 15-6 advantage with 14:23 left in the first half.
Iona tied the game at 22 with 5:32 left before the break but did not score again before the half as ISU went on an 8-0 run to take a 30-22 advantage in the locker room. Odum converted a pair of free throws with 1:15 on the clock for the eight-point cushion.
After the half, the Sycamores got a dunk from Cummings off the feed from Odum for a 32-22 advantage -- its largest of the contest with 19:48 left in the game.
Iona put together a 7-0 run of its own which was capped off a Jones lay-up after the steals to trim the ISU lead down to just 34-21 with 17:28 left.
Mahurin stopped the bleeding with a jumper in the paint to stretch the lead out to 36-31. Taaj Ridley hit a lay-up with 12:47 left to cap a 5-0 run which ended with a jumper by Cummings at the 11:58 mark to trim the Iona lead down to 45-44.
ISU scored six in a row with back-to-back 3-pointer from Lucas Eitel at the 7:07 and 6:23 marks to stake the Sycamores to a 57-53 lead, but ISU only scored on a Mahurin free throws with 5:12 remaining over the next four minutes as the Jones knotted the score at 58.
Jones was one of two Gaels to reach double figures scoring as he hit 8-of-20 shots from the field and was 10-of-11 from the free throw line to score 26 points. Ridley added 16.
Indiana State begins the final week of the regular season on Wednesday, February 27 when they host Drake in the final home game of the campaign. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET).
An investigation is underway into an early morning crash.
Toys are getting ready for distributing for the annual Toys for Tots toy drive.
The same Illinois state’s attorney who’s charging the biological mother of murder victim Willow Long is cautioning those in the court of public opinion not to be too quick to put blood on the young mother’s hands.
The holiday season is a time for family but what about kids who don't have one? Tonight the Department of Child Services says it’s in a state of emergency, and is in need of foster parents across the Wabash Valley.
We have new details in a case that dates back to last year. A Terre Haute man pleaded guilty to voluntary man slaughter Tuesday.