Top-seeded Indiana State pulls away late to beat Utah 100-90 and reach NIT championship game

Tue, Apr 2, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

Top-seeded Indiana State pulls away late to beat Utah 100-90 and reach NIT championship game

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Ryan Conwell matched his career high with 27 points and Robbie Avila had 26 points and 10 rebounds to help top-seeded Indiana State take advantage of a heavily partisan home-state crowd to beat second-seeded Utah 100-90 on Tuesday night and advance to the NIT championship game.

Isaiah Swope added 15 points - all in the second half - and eight assists for Indiana State (32-6), which reached its first national tourney title game since Larry Bird took the unbeaten Sycamores to the 1979 NCAA title game against Magic Johnson and Michigan State.

A win Thursday in Indianapolis, against either top-seeded Seton Hall (23-12) or fourth-seeded Georgia (20-16), would allow the Sycamores to tie the 1978-79 team's single-season school record for victories.

Deivon Smith had a career high 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists to lead the Utes (22-15), the last Pac-12 men's team still playing in the league's farewell season. Branden Carlson scored 17. Utah made 17 3-pointers, with Smith going 6 of 6.

It certainly wasn't easy for Indiana State to take control. But once it did, turning a 10-2 run midway through the second half into a 63-56 lead, the Sycamores never trailed again and extended the margin to as much as 15.

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Avila got it all started, scoring 11 points in the first eight minutes to help Indiana State build a 28-17 lead. But Smith led Utah back and helped the Utes take a 34-33 lead late in the first half. Then it became a back-and-forth contest until Indiana State's decisive second-half push.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness

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