From ISU Media Relations
Indiana State men’s basketball end the 2023 calendar year triumph in a Tuesday night victory over Tennessee State, 90-69. ISU moves to 11-1 with its 10th-straight win this season, the first double-digit winning streak in the Coach Schertz era with the Sycamores.
Julian Larry led the game with 19 points on 3-for-5 from the floor and converted 13 made free throws, while dishing out a game-high six assists and recording three rebounds.
Robbie Avila and Xavier Bledson each recorded a double-double in the game. Avila scored all of his 18 points in the second half (3-for-4 from beyond the arc), grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, tallied five assists, and swatted two Tiger shots. Bledson came off the bench and earned his first double-double at ISU, he scored 16 points and recorded a season-high 10 rebounds. Bledson knocked down four three-pointers for the first time in his collegiate career.
Jayson Kent scored in double figures for the 11th time this season in ISU’s 12 games on the year. Kent tallied 15 points, including two more massive dunks. Isaiah Swope rounded out the five Sycamores in double figures with 14 points and three triples.
The Sycamores broke open a 58-57 lead with a massive 16-0 run in 4:18 with five different Sycamores scoring at least one basket en route to the 71-58 advantage with 7:31 to play. Larry began with two-straight driving layups, followed by Swope stretching the lead with a pair of free throws. Bledson knocked down one of his four threes, which Kent followed up with a block, leading to an Avila fast-break layup at the opposite end. Kent gave the Sycamores a 10-point lead with a massive one-handed dunk, followed by another Bledson triple.
Following the run, Indiana State held the lead by knocking down eight of their next nine free throws to build the lead out in the next four minutes before Kent’s second dunk put the exclamation point on the game. Avila secured ISU’s 90th point for the third time in the last four games with a three-pointer with 39 seconds remaining.
In the first half, neither the Sycamores nor the Tigers could establish a solid lead. Indiana State garnered a 10-point lead with 7:30 left, but TSU battled to tie the game at 33 with 3:12 remaining before ISU took a four-point, 42-38 lead into the break.
News & Notes
- Indiana State’s 10-game winning streak marks the first double-digit winning streak in the Coach Schertz era with the Sycamores.
- The double-digit streak is the first ISU streak to hit 10-plus games since the 1978-79 season when ISU won its first 33 games on the Sycamores’ way to playing Michigan State in the 1979 National Championship game.
- The 10-game winning streak marked just the 10th time in Indiana State’s 127-year history (dating back to 1896) that ISU has posted a double-digit winning streak.
- Robbie Avila’s 18-point, 14-rebound double-double marked the second in his collegiate career and first since he posted 16 points and 11 rebounds against Trinity Christian on November 27, 2022.
- Xavier Bledson posted his first double-double in the Sycamores Blue & White on Tuesday night with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
- Both Avila and Bledson’s double-doubles marked the first time two Sycamores posted a double-double in the same game since Courvoisier McCauley (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Trenton Gibson (18 points, 11 rebounds) achieved the feat on November 7, 2022, against Green Bay.
- Tuesday’s game marked the sixth time in the 2023-24 season that five or more Sycamores scored in double figures.
- Julian Larry went 13-for-17 from the free throw line setting new career marks in both categories. His 13 made free throws marked the most by a Sycamore since Jake LaRavia converted 13 against Ball State back on December 19, 2020.
- Robbie Avila’s 14 rebounds were a career high for the sophomore center and marked the most by a Sycamore since Jake LaRavia posted 14 rebounds against Valparaiso back on February 26, 2021.
- ISU’s six blocked shots on Tuesday night equaled the most in the Josh Schertz era, tying the six blocks the Sycamores recorded against Missouri State back on February 15, 2022.
- The Sycamores made 31 free throws marked the second time ISU has converted 30 or more free throws in the Josh Schertz era, and the most made free throws by an Indiana State team since the Sycamores made 36-of-46 attempts in an overtime win over IUPUI on November 14, 2014.
The Sycamores take a short break for the holiday season, but return to the hardwood for the rematch of the 1979 NCAA national championship against Michigan State on December 30th. This is the first time the Sycamores and Spartans will square off but will be the second time the Sycamores tipoff in East Lansing. The 2003-04 Sycamores played in a tournament in East Lansing but did not face the Spartans.