Indiana basketball pulled off a tough win against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 64-50. Here are our key takeaways from the game.
See also: Final Stats and Highlights | Miller, Smith and Green post-game
Trace Jackson-Davis and Justin Smith Lead the Way
Indiana’s biggest performances came from its two starting forwards in freshman Trace Jackson-Davis and junior Justin Smith.
Smith finished with 18 points on 6 of 11 from the field and converting 5 of 7 from the free throw line, adding on eight rebounds.
Jackson-Davis once again was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, leading the Hoosiers in scoring with 19 points off of 9 of 17 from the field. Jackson-Davis also led the team in rebounding finishing with fourteen, including nine offensive boards.
With Jackson-Davis getting double figure rebounds for the fourth time this season, it seems these types of performances are becoming the norm.
“He’s just a natural,” head coach Archie Miller said after the game. “He’s got great hands and great length. He’s a spring off the boards in terms of being able to go get the ball. He’s getting balls that other guys can’t get. So that’s obviously a gift he brings to the table.”
“I think it’s just his mentality, keeping that aggressive mentality on the boards and around the paint,” teammate Devonte Green added. “He’s such a good athlete that he has that advantage of getting boards over guys.”
Jackson-Davis was unfortunately not able to comment on his performance as immediately after the game he traveled to Indianapolis to watch his brother play football for Center Grove High School against Carmel High School in the IHSAA 6A State Football Championship.
Turnovers Proved Problematic
Coach Miller has made a point of emphasis on keeping the total number of turnovers to twelve or fewer per game. The Hoosiers failed to meet the standard for the second straight game after committing a season high 19 turnovers against the Jackrabbits.
Devonte Green accounted for four on the night, with Smith and freshman guard Armaan Franklin each committed three.
“I would say in the first half we were trying to force it inside, especially for a team that was defending us by crowding the paint,” Smith said after the game. “There were a lot of different hands in there, so when we were throwing it inside it was hard to get around the defenders.”
Coming off an 18 turnover performance in their previous game against Louisiana Tech, taking care of the ball must become a top priority for this team as the schedule becomes much more difficult the rest of the way.
“These last three halves; second half against our last opponent (Louisiana Tech), and then moving into these last two halves, if you look at the turnovers, it’s just destroyed our offense,” Miller added. “We really haven’t taken care of the ball very well.”
Indiana Depth Continues to be Impactful
Another point of emphasis Coach Miller has made this season is to utilize the depth that’s available to the Hoosiers.
Tonight ten Hoosiers made contributions to the team, and eight of the ten played for thirteen minutes or more.
All of Indiana’s players grabbed multiple rebounds leading to the Hoosiers’ 45-29 rebound advantage.
The depth tonight proved essential especially in the back court as Indiana had to once again go without sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee, who Miller described as still day-to-day.
“I think as we continue to evolve here, I think you’re starting to see a lot of different guys contribute, which I’m happy about, but I think we can still make a big, big jump,” Miller said. “And as we can get some more guys in the game to play more minutes, I think that’s going to be very, very important.”
Indiana’s depth will be tested even more as they will see a step up in competition in December.
Tough Part of Schedule Begins Tuesday
Indiana managed to take care of business in the month of November, finishing a perfect 7-0.
But as the schedule shifts to December the Hoosiers will see a noticeable spike in difficulty.
The December schedule is as follows:
- December 3rd: vs Florida State (Big Ten-ACC Challenge)
- December 7th: at Wisconsin
- December 10th: vs UConn (game will be in New York City as part of the Jimmy V Classic)
- December 13th: vs Nebraska
- December 21st: vs Notre Dame (game will be in Indianapolis as part of the Crossroads Classic)
- December 29th: vs Arkansas
With a challenging slate approaching, the Hoosiers still have plenty to improve on.
“I continue to be concerned about our defense,” Miller said. “I think at the end of the day our lack of depth at guard is really going to get exposed as we start to play the talent level and the guards on the other team.
“My biggest concern going into some of these games is taking care of the ball.” he continued. “Our guard play here in the last couple games in terms of taking care of it hasn’t been very good. And I just think some of the other guys just dropping balls or not catching them or missing point blank layups, we got to be better than that in the simple plays.”
Even with concerns aplenty, Indiana is looking forward to taking on the Florida State Seminoles Tuesday December 3rd in Bloomington where they expect a large crowd to bring plenty of energy.
“I’m always excited to play in Assembly Hall, but it’s always an advantage for us when there’s a lot more fans here and they’re a lot louder and the game’s more intense.” Green said. “So I would say I’m excited.”
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