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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
COACH AND PROGRAM
There was no coal in Royce Waltman's Christmas stocking last year, but it sure seemed that way.
The Sycamores appeared on their way to a winning season for the first time in five years with an 8-0 start that was capped off by a 69-59 overtime win against Illinois State on Dec. 22.
The last time Indiana State started that well was the 1978-79 season, when some guy named Larry Bird led the program to a 33-0 mark and a trip to the NCAA championship game.
This time around, senior David Moss (16.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.9 apg) was the leader of the Sycamores. When he was able, that is. After the Sycamores lost their first game to Wichita State after their return from winter break, Moss partially tore his hamstring against Missouri State and missed the next eight games.
The Sycamores went 0-8 without Moss as part of an 11-game losing streak that left them at 8-11 overall and 1-10 in the Valley.
"We were 8-1 when David got hurt and that really changed everything," Waltman said. "I think if we had been able to stay together we would have been OK. We had finally been able to put things together."
ISU finished the season 6-4 with Moss back in the lineup, including an 81-63 loss to Wichita State in the Valley quarterfinals.
After getting a sneak peak of life without Moss last season, the Sycamores must go the entire this season minus their leading scorer and all-conference second-teamer.
"No one kid is going to be able to replace David," Waltman said. "We're going to have to do it by committee."