College Hoops

Indiana State advances to NIT title game with over Utah

Indiana State advances to NIT title game with over Utah

INDIANAPOLIS – Inside Hinkle Fieldhouse, it’s no surprise that the Indiana State Sycamores now find themselves one win away from a championship.

The top-seeded Sycamores defeated Utah 100-90 Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals. Indiana State will now play in its first national tournament title game since 1979 when Larry Bird led them to the NCAA Tournament final against Magic Johnson and Michigan State.

The two teams played even in the first half before Indiana State poured in 56 points in the second half on 60% (21-for-35) shooting. The Trees knocked in 57% of their shots for the game and overcame a Utes team that converted 59% (17-of-29) from deep.

After racing out to a 17-7 lead less than six minutes into the contest, Indiana State was outscored by 11 over the final 10 minutes of the opening half to tie the game at 44 heading into the locker room.

With ISU leading by just five points with less than eight minutes remaining, Xavier Bledson and Julian Larry knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to 11. The advantage was double figures for the final 6:43 of the game.

Ryan Conwell notched a career-high 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He also pulled down six rebounds and dished out four assists.

Robbie Avila was one point behind him with 26 and was 11-for-14 from the field. He rained in three of his triple attempts and recorded a double-double with 10 boards.

Larry and Isaiah Swope scored 15 apiece. Larry also tallied a team-best eight assists.

Indiana State reached the 100-point plateau in two of its four NIT wins as it also poured in 101 in the opening round against SMU. It is averaging 90.5 points per contest over the tournament.

The Sycamores will now face the winner of the Seton Hall-Georgia semifinal Thursday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse for the NIT championship.

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