INDIANAPOLIS — A longer-than-expected Utah basketball season came to an end Tuesday night.

The Runnin’ Utes met their match in the NIT semifinals at Hinkle Fieldhouse, as a highly efficient Indiana State team won 100-90.

Utah trailed by as many as 11 points during the first half but fought their way back into the game well before both teams went into halftime tied at 44-44, hitting a barrage of 3-pointers while taking care of the ball — the Utes had just two first-half turnovers.

Unfortunately for the Utes, Indiana State (32-6) overcame a brief cool spell late in the first half and made this one a blowout, as the Sycamores shot better than 50% in the second half to win.

3 takeaways

Why Utah lost: The Utes’ defense, which had been strong in previous NIT wins over Iowa and VCU, struggled against one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country.

Indiana State shot 60% in the second half and 56.9% for the game, while making 12 of 34 3-pointers.

That overshadowed a 52.3% shooting night from Utah, which included a school record-tying 17 made 3-pointers.

Key stretch: The Utes kept fighting back even after finding themselves down as many as eight in the first 10-plus minutes of the second half, and managed to cut it to a five-point Indiana State lead at 71-66 on a Gabe Madsen 3.

Indiana State had a quick answer, though, as Xavier Bledson countered with a 3, then after a Utah miss, Julian Larry had a 3-pointer rim out then back in to make it 77-66 with 7:36 to play. That forced Utah to call a timeout, and the Utes never got within eight points after that.

Top performers: Ryan Conwell paced the Sycamores with a career-high tying 27 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Robbie Avila added 26 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

Deivon Smith was one of four Utes in double-figures, as he finished with a career-high 28 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Branden Carlson, in his final collegiate game, had 17 points and five rebounds.

3 key stats

  • Indiana State held a sizable free-throw shooting advantage. The Sycamores made 14 of 20, while Utah was 5 of 10 from the free-throw line.
  • The Sycamores outrebounded Utah 35-29, including 7-5 on the offensive glass, and finished with a 15-7 edge in second-chance points.
  • Indiana State owned the paint, outscoring Utah 50-28 inside.

What’s next?

The loss ends Utah’s season. The Utes finish with a 22-15 record, their first 20-win season in six years.