The Indiana State men’s basketball team (0-3) travels to the Bahamas this weekend to take part in the Junkanoo Jam.
The Sycamores will compete against Duquesne (3-0) Thursday night, Loyola Marymount (1-2) Friday afternoon, and the Air Force (2-1) Sunday afternoon. The tournament will take place in Bimini, Bahamas at Gateway Christian Academy.
The Sycamores are coming off a difficult first three games against three tough opponents, including a game against a nationally-ranked, top five team in Louisville. The Sycamores have struggled this year on the defensive end primarily, giving up 82 points per game to opponents on 50.3% shooting.
ISU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Greg Lansing has spoken multiple times post game about the struggles the team is facing defensively and the need for the team to get better on that end of the floor.
ISU has also been out-rebounded by a high clip, losing the rebounding battle 39-to-29 per average through three games. The Sycamores have shot the ball well from three-point range, shooting 38.9 percent as a team, and have done a good job to force turnovers for opposing offenses as they are averaging five steals per game as a team.
Junior guard Tyreke Key leads the Sycamores this season. Key is averaging a team-high 17.3 points per game on 43.3% shooting, including 53.8 percent from three and 86.4 percent from the free throw line. Key also averages 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Joining him in the backcourt attack is senior guard Jordan Barnes. Barnes comes into this tournament averaging 12.7 points per game on 38.5 percent shooting and 33.3 percent from three-point range. Barnes leads the team with five rebounds per game and 3.3 assists per game so far this season.
Senior guard Christian Williams also plays a critical role for this team, averaging 7.7 points per game on 53.3%, 3.7 rebounds per game, and has yet to miss a free throw or three pointers on the season.
“We’ve always had good guards here. College basketball and even the NBA is guard-heavy now,” said Lansing. “We’ve had a string of virtually having all-conference guys every year. Those guys have the ball in their hands more, they have more of a leadership role and a vocal role. You have to be able to handle the ball, pass the ball, and shoot the ball.”
The Duquesne Dukes come in unbeaten to the Bahamas. The Dukes hold wins over Princeton, Lamar and Lipscomb on the year. Sophomore guard Sincere Carry leads the team in scoring and assists, averaging 15 points and four assists per game.
Forward Marcus Weathers is another player to look out for, as he averages 11 points per game, a team-high 7.7 rebounds, and a team-high two blocks per game. Also scoring in double figures for the Dukes include centers Baylee Steele (12.7 points per game) and Michael Hughes (11 points per game).
The Lions of Loyola-Marymount opened their season with a win against Westcliff, followed by two losses against Nevada and Colorado State. Forward Ivan Alipiev leads the team with 16.3 points per game and adds a team high six rebounds per game.
Guard Eli Scott acts as a do-it-all player, averaging 15.7 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, and a team-high 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Another key player to watch out for its forward Jonathan Dos Anjos, who averages 9.7 points per game for the Lions.
The Air Force Falcons come in with a two-game win streak against Texas State and Army, following their opening loss against Idaho State. Forward Lavelle Scottie is the star for the Falcons, averaging 15 points per game and 7.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game leading the team in both categories.
Scottie joins four other Falcons scoring in double figures through three games, joined by guard Sid Tomes, guard A.J. Walker, guard Chris Joyce and center Ryan Swan.
The game against Duquesne is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Sycamores play Loyola Marymount Friday at 4 p.m. and Air Force Sunday at 4 p.m. You can catch the televised action for all three games on www.flohoops.com or listen to the games on WIBQ 97.9 FM.