Sycamores wrap up regular season with conference title

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Sycamores wrap up regular season with conference title

Photo by Katelyn Collier/ISU Athletics | Members of the ISU mens's basketball team and cheerleaders pose for a picture inside the Hulman Center following claiming the Missouri Valley Conference outright championship.
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TERRE HAUTE — The wait is over. 


Led by Ryan Conwell’s 24 points, the Indiana State University’s men’s basketball team defeated Murray State, 89-77, inside a raucous Hulman Center Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Sycamores wrapped up the regular season with a 26-5 overall record and 17-3 inside Missouri Valley Conference play. The win also gave the Sycamores their first outright conference championship since the 1999-2000 season. 


Xavier Bledson opened the scoring with a 3-pointer just 15 seconds into the contest. 


The Racers would pull even at 6-all with just under 17 minutes left in the opening half. 


The Sycamores regained the lead on their next possession as Isaiah Swope found Conwell for a trey and a 9-6 lead. ISU would not relinquish the lead. 


Jayson Kent pushed the Sycamores advantage to 23-13 with left in the first half on a pair of free throws, for the largest lead to that point. 


Murray State would trim the deficit down to four points twice in the half before the Sycamores carried a 12-point advantage into the break. 


Kent finished a fast break with a slam for a 51-37 lead with 72 ticks left on the clock for its largest lead of the half. 


ISU led by double digits for the majority of the second half. 


MSU made one final push, pulling to within 77-71 with 4:20 left on the game clock. But a triple by Conwell sparked a 10-0 run over the next 2:18 to put the game away. 


The 3-pointer — the 11th made triple by the team —  was also a record-breaking shot. It was the 341st made 3-pointer of the season for the Sycamores, breaking last season’s record of 340. 


ISU was not only dialed in from long distance on Sunday, but the Sycamores were also deadly accurate from the free-throw line. As a team, ISU connected on 22 of 23 from the charity stripe (96%). 


Robbie Avila was 7 of 7 from the line in part of his 23-point performance. 


In addition to his team-high 24 points, Kent also pulled down a game-high 12 boards for a double-double on senior day. 


Swope and Kent scored 14 points apiece, giving the Syacmores four players in double figures to help offset Quincy Anderson’s game-high 25 points for the Racers. 


Up next for ISU will be the Missouri Valley Conference tournament this weekend. The Sycamores secured the No. 1 seed to earn a first-round bye. ISU will play its first tournament game on Friday, inside the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, MO. 


The MVC will release the complete tournament bracket on Monday. 

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