On Tuesday, Trey Galloway said he had been learning from his coaches and the older players on the team, trying to make mental notes and grow as a player any way he could.
On Wednesday night in an 87-85 overtime win over Penn State, Galloway stood out, even amongst his veteran peers. The freshman had a complete game, scoring 10 points, dishing 5 assists, and playing lockdown defense.
“He was fantastic in terms of his playmaking,” Miller said about Galloway.
While his box score numbers may not jump off the screen like Al Durham or Trayce Jackson-Davis’ did against the Nittany Lions, Galloway was the glue that held the team together, consistently making winning plays.
That’s been the story this year for the freshman, he’s always making the right play. Galloway’s gift is not that he is a knockdown shooter or a high-flyer above the rim (although he will throw down on you if you aren’t careful).
Miller can sum up Galloway in one word.
“He’s fearless,” he said of his prized freshman.
Galloway’s has an elite feel for the game, and a high-level basketball IQ. He single-handedly destroyed Penn State’s zone defense, not because he got hot from deep, but because he forced the issue and attacked against it, refusing to engage in the aimless perimeter reversals that so often plague Indiana’s guards.
He is the team’s weapon in transition, running the floor with reckless abandon. He’s making a serious case as the team’s best passer, whether through entry looks to the bigs or kick out passes to the guards. Despite his young age, Galloway sets the tone for this Indiana team in so many ways.
“That’s what Trey is,” Miller said. “He’s gotten more minutes and gotten more confident. He is a terrific play-maker. He is as good of a playmaker in this type of competition at his age as I’ve seen. He’s fearless in terms of putting the ball on the floor and getting into places and getting it out to people.”
Galloway played 36 minutes on the night, second-most on the team, and tied for the team lead with a plus-seven box plus/minus. And the biggest stat of all, one that Galloway played a big part in: a ‘W’ for a team that badly needed it.
“[36 minutes] is a long time to play for a young guy,” Archie Miller said postgame. “I was proud of Trey.”
Indiana didn’t get the defensive performance it needed on Wednesday, consistently allowing the Nittany Lions to get looks in the two danger zones: the rim and beyond the arc. Penn State made 12 of 28 shots from three, and fought to the very end, erasing what was a 12 point lead for Indiana.
But after Penn State guard Sam Sessoms took the lead with his 17th point of the night, it was Galloway once again knifing his way through the lane and finding Jackson-Davis, who was fouled and sent the game to overtime.
In the free period, Indiana’s defensive struggles continued. Penn State got an easy layup off the the opening tip, and continued to score at will. Luckily for the Hoosiers, the Nittany Lions didn’t play both ends of the floor, and a late Rob Phinisee turnaround jumper proved to be the difference for Indiana.
For the Hoosiers, this win was a big one. Although there was a lot of ugly basketball from both sides in this game, Indiana comes out of Wednesday night with a win and a little bit of momentum.
There is quite a bit to clean up, most importantly the defense, which allowed its highest opposing point total of the season to Penn State. But Indiana’s aggressiveness and tenacity, two qualities that Galloway embodies, shined through in the overtime win.
“I think the thing Trey has established that he can do for us is make guys better,” Miller said. “I think he has developed a niche with that.”
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