MOREHEAD, Ken. (WTHI) - Two Sycamores reached career-highs scoring in Khristian Smith and Manny Arop, but was not enough to overcome a nearly 50 percent shooting mark from the field by Morehead State as the homestanding Eagles came away with a 71-63 victory.
Indiana State fell to 4-3 on the season while Morehead State evened their record at 5-5.
Smith and Arop each reached career highs in scoring as Smith posted 20 and Arop recorded 19. Jake Odum reached double figures scoring with 15 points.
The Sycamores hit 17-of-46 shots from the field (37 percent), but were 24-of-33 from the free throw line (72.7 percent). Morehead State was whistled for 31 fouls in the contest.
Khristian Smith reached 17 points scored in the game with three minutes to go as he made a steal at halfcourt and hit a fast break lay-up to get Indiana State within 59-57. Jake Odum followed that play up with a steal of his own but the Sycamores were not able to convert on the offensive end and Angelo Warner buried a 3-pointer with 1:42 left to stretch the Eagle lead out to 62-57.
Morehead State would miss the front end of a one-and-one and then converted 1-of-2 at the 1:01 mark to stretch the lead out to 63-57. Smith answered with a driving lay-up and then Cummings intercepted a pass at mid court but missed an open trey in transition. The Eagles hit two free throws to stretch their cushion out to 65-59 and Smith hit 1-of-2 free throws with 40.5 seconds remaining to make it 65-60.
After the Eagles hit a pair of free throws, Lucas Eitel drained a 3-pointer with 35.1 seconds remaining to edge the Sycamores closer at 67-63.
Arop was the first to score for Indiana State after trailing 32-26 at the half, as he drained a 3-pointer just 16 seconds in to cut the MSU lead down to just three points. The Sycamores went cold following that bucket and surrendered a 13-0 run by the Eagles and the MSU lead ballooned to 45-29.
The Sycamores would not fold as the run ended with a conventional 3-point play by Khristian Smith and ISU would score each of the game's next 10 points to make it 45-39.
With 7:05 remaining in the contest, Jake Odum hit a free throw which the cut the Eagle advantage down to 52-49 and were as close as 55-51 as Khristian Smith also scored a pair from the charity line.
The Eagles raced back out to a 59-51 lead before Odum hit a pair of free throws with 4:30 remaining and then drained a second-chance jump shot at the 3:50 mark to cut the lead down to 59-55.
Khristian Smith tallied the first points of the game for the Sycamores more than two minutes into the contest to inch Indiana State within 5-2 after Morehead State opened the contest on a 5-0 run.
Arop scored 11 points in the first half, and converted a conventional 3-point play with 12:05 remainining to cut the Eagle lead down to 12-9. Morehead State raced out to a 20-13 lead, but Arop answered with a 3-pointer at the 7:04 mark to make it 20-16.
Morehead State scored 10 of the game's next 11 points to take a 30-17 advantage with 3:06 left before the break, but the Sycamores answered with a 9-2 run over that stretch, doing all of the damage at the free throw line to leave the Eagles looking at 32-26 lead at the half. Odum hit a pair of free throws with seven seconds remaining and the Eagles missed two looks at the bucket as time expired.
The Sycamores did the majority of their damage in the first half at the free throw line by scoring 13 points off charity tosses after Morehead State, which entered the game leading the nation in fouls committed, was whistled for 17 infractions in the opening stanza.
Warner and Milton Chavis each scored 15 points to lead Morehead State.
The Sycamores return to action on Saturday, December 15 when they travel to IUPUI for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) contest.
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