Thoughts on a 61-57 win over the Golden Gophers:
Like Indiana worked it out tonight, huh?
This was a seriously weird game. Minnesota, the Big Ten’s worst team, could barely field a lineup due to various injuries. The Hoosiers, who played as well as anyone else in the conference, were without Mike Woodson due to COVID-19.
All the Golden Gophers could do was throw a 2-3 zone to Indiana to screw up and start 3 balls and try to get to the rim on their 5-out offense in hope that the basketball gods were looking at her with favor tonight. It almost worked. While Indiana could have been a bit more feisty for 50-50 balls, it felt like Minnesota was getting all the jumps and rolls and caroms. That rebound and putback by Will Ramberg was perhaps the culmination of it all.
Still, Indiana just stayed on after a sloppy start, erasing a six-point lead from Minnesota at 6:00 in the first half and turning it into a three-point lead at halftime (33-30). The Hoosiers held the Golden Gophers to .87 points per possession and missed some good looks late in the half.
It seemed like Indiana just needed to get ahead in the second half, throw the knockout punch and that would be it. It wasn’t the best start, but Indiana eventually extended the lead to seven points. A Jalen Hood-Schifino 3-pointer would have given Indiana a double-digit advantage with 12:01 to go. Instead, it didn’t fall, which was the topic of tonight’s deep for IU (4 of 14, 28.5 percent).
Minnesota put on a quick 7-0 run to level the game again. And then it stayed in the lead for much of the rest of the game – the Gophers were ahead from the 6:22 mark until 47 seconds before the game. Credit Minnesota for being good with the ball (8 TO%) and never giving up despite the circumstances. But Indiana was able to put together a 7-0 stretch to end the contest and snuck away with the win tonight when things seemed to be getting out of hand.
And who led the charge? Of course, Trayce Jackson-Davis (25 points, 21 rebounds, six blocks).
After blocking a shot and getting the board, Jackson-Davis dove it home as the Hoosiers quickly got on court at 2:02 to slice it to a point. And then he got a lot of defensive attention and found Race Thompson fouled on the shot. Thompson made his first free throw to tie the game. He missed the second, but Jackson-Davis got the offensive rebound and putback to give the Hoosiers a two-point advantage. Minnesota missed a 3-pointer at the other end on a night where it only got 5 of 24. Kopp made Indiana drop to the right side of the 50-50 ball, dove to snatch the rebound and called a timeout for the Hoosiers to retain possession.
From there, Trey Galloway was fouled and hit both free throws, and Jackson-Davis blocked another Minnesota shot to seal the deal.
In this there is far too picky. Tamar Bates and Hood-Schifino shot selection was poor. They finished a combined 2-of-10. Galloway only made one basket in 30 minutes. Indiana scored just .94 points per possession against the second-worst defense in the conference, trailing several players.
“We just couldn’t sync,” Jackson-Davis told Robbie Hummel on Big Ten Network’s post-game broadcast. “By and large we did it.”
It was ugly. It was on the brink of disaster. But Indiana took the W in the Big Ten to the streets. There are now four wins in a row. They can’t all be a masterpiece.
(Image credit: IU Athletics)
Filed by: Minnesota Golden Gophers