Blanton’s scoring burst buries Indiana State
IN AN extremely tight tussle, the Eastern Kentucky Colonels managed to sneak past the Indiana State Sycamores in an overtime thriller, taking home the 89-88 triumph in the Discount Tire CBI (College Basketball Invitational) on Tuesday.
The two sides played out a thrilling encounter at the Ocean Center, unable to be separated after two halves of seriously exciting play. In overtime, it was looking like a similar story, going right down to the wire in dramatic fashion, until Isaiah Cozart nailed a pair of clutch free throws to give his side the lead with 20 seconds to play. The Sycamores could not conjure an answer and Eastern Kentucky held on for a win.
Although Cozart was the hero, the Colonels’ win was on the back of some terrific offence from Devontae Blanton, who was the man of the match for the victors. He was able to put the team on his back and conjure some big buckets down the stretch when Eastern Kentucky was in dire need of one.
Indiana State Sycamores (88) def. by Eastern Kentucky Colonels (89)
Devontae Blanton – 32 points, eight rebounds, four assists
Blanton was the star of the show for Eastern Kentucky, shouldering plenty of offensive responsibility and thriving in the process.
His 32 points were 15 more than anyone else on the court, and 21 more than the next best Colonels player. The team actively looked to push offensive possessions through him, and in turn, reaped the rewards of his strong shotmaking ability.
Blanton drained 12 of his 22 shots from the field in an impressive offensive display, looking to take the defence off the dribble and attack the rim downhill. Of his 22 attempts from the field, 18 came from inside the arc, so he was looking to attack and get the best possible look.
The defence tried to tempt him into three-pointers at times, and it backfired, as the guard managed to splash home a pair of buckets from downtown.
At the charity stripe, Blanton went a perfect eight shots from eight attempts, punishing the defence for sloppy and undisciplined actions when trying to stop the guard on his relentless attack on the rack.
Blanton used his six-foot-six frame to create problems for the Indiana State defence, stepping up in overtime with a timely three-pointer to cap off an exceptional scoring showing. It was a massive factor in the result of the game and the team should continue to look for him during the remainder of the tournament.