Indiana State Triumphs Over Utah to Reach NIT Championship Game

In an electrifying match, Indiana State, driven by standout performances from Ryan Conwell and Robbie Avila, defeated Utah 100-90 to secure a place in the NIT Championship. The victory, cheered on by a home-state crowd, sets the stage for a historic final.

Ryan Conwell equaled his career-best performance with 27 points, while Robbie Avila contributed 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, propelling the number one seed Indiana State to a victory over the second seed Utah with a score of 100-90 on Tuesday night, securing a spot in the NIT championship game. The victory was buoyed by a strong, supportive crowd in their home state.

Indiana State Triumphs Over Utah to Reach NIT Championship Game

Isaiah Swope chimed in with 15 points, all scored in the latter half of the game, along with eight assists, as Indiana State (32-6) made it to its first national tournament final since the iconic 1979 NCAA championship game that featured Larry Bird leading the then-undefeated Sycamores against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State.

Indiana State now looks forward to a clash on Thursday in Indianapolis against the top-seeded Seton Hall (24-12), aiming for a win that would equal the 1978-79 team’s record for the most single-season victories.

On Utah’s side, Deivon Smith led with a career-best 28 points, in addition to seven rebounds and six assists, marking a standout performance for the last team representing the Pac-12 in the league’s final season. Branden Carlson added 17 points. Utah’s sharpshooting was on display as they hit 17 3-pointers, with Smith making all six of his attempts.

Gaining the upper hand wasn’t straightforward for Indiana State. However, a critical 10-2 run in the second half turned the game in their favor, leading to a 63-56 advantage that they never relinquished, eventually stretching the lead to 15 points.

Avila played a key role early on, scoring 11 points in the initial eight minutes, which helped Indiana State to establish a 28-17 lead. Smith rallied Utah back into contention, briefly leading 34-33 late in the first half. The game remained tightly contested until Indiana State’s significant push in the second half solidified their victory.

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Pooja Chauhan
Pooja Chauhan

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