Where did that come from? After struggling on the road in the Big Ten, Indiana pulled together its most complete effort of the season at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Thursday evening.
After falling behind 4-0, Mike Woodson called a quick timeout, and his Hoosiers responded with a 12-0 run. Their lead would never shrink below seven the rest of the game, and IU led by as much as 19 in the first half, and 21 in the second.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won 80-65 with another edition of The Report Card.
Indiana (12-6, 3-4) will next host Michigan State on Sunday at Noon Eastern in Bloomington.
Illinois had a gameplan — run IU off the 3-point line and make the Hoosiers win with twos. And it backfired dearly.
While the Illini generally had bigger lineups on the court, Indiana dominated the paint, with 54 points, and 67 percent shooting from 2-point range. After other teams have had success packing the paint, doubling the post, and making IU win from the outside, it was a head-scratching strategy by Illinois coach Brad Underwood to guard Trayce Jackson-Davis one-on-one. Part of what made Jackson-Davis successful was where he caught the ball, as he established post position low, and he had space to get to his left hand and utilize his quickness.
“You let a really good player catch in his spots, and it’s a problem,” Underwood said.
Mike Woodson said after the game he kept expecting Illinois to start doubling, and when they didn’t he called 80 to 90 percent of the plays to get the ball in Jackson-Davis’ hands on the block or facing up. He took the game over.
Ultimately Indiana was far too efficient for Underwood’s strategy to have a chance. IU shot 61.8 percent overall (34-of-55) from the field. It was the third best shooting percentage by a Big Ten team in a conference game since 2001. In the first half, Indiana shot 66.7 percentage (20-of-30) from the field, the second-best shooting half of the season for the Hoosiers, and the best against a high major.
Indiana got nine offensive rebounds, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but considering IU missed just 19 shots, it was their best offensive rebounding rate against a high major this season. And IU made Illinois pay with 16 second chance points.
IU scored 1.17 points per possession, their second best rate against a high major this season.
After Mike Woodson called a timeout with 18 minutes left in the first half, Indiana was dialed-in on the defensive end. Illinois scored just 10 points over a key 12 minute stretch that allowed IU to build a 19-point lead late in the first half. The Illini would be playing catchup from there, and Indiana never let up when it came to their defensive intensity.
“I just thought from a defensive standpoint we set the tone right off the bat,” Woodson said.
Indiana was aggressive on the ball and for the most part locked in on shooters. It was during that same decisive 12 minute stretch that Illinois had all seven of their first half turnovers.
“They bothered us,” Underwood said. “Nobody has bothered us.”
Indiana did have some good fortune, as the Illini missed 14 free throws and 12 layups, although many of the latter were well contested. IU blocked six shots and bothered many more. Illinois shot just 37 percent from 2-point range after coming into the game No. 13 in the country from two at 56.4 percent.
Illinois scored just .948 points per possession, IU’s best road defensive effort thus far in that regard.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Brilliance from Trayce Jackson-Davis leads IU to massive victory
- Watch: Illinois’ Brad Underwood discusses loss to Indiana
- Watch: Woodson, Jackson-Davis and Geronimo discuss win over Illinois
- IU basketball: Indiana 80 Illinois 65 — Three keys | Highlights | Final stats
- Long form highlights:
Trayce Jackson-Davis (A+) The game was set up for Jackson-Davis to dominate, and he was able to get that done in convincing fashion. The senior forward posted his career-high in a Big Ten game, made his first nine shots, and also led the team in rebounds, assists and blocks. He was also 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Jordan Geronimo (A-) Geronimo stacked a second straight solid effort. He had a massive first half with 13 points before the break on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. Geronimo did have four turnovers, and he was quiet in the second half, but the junior forward is on an encouraging trend.
Miller Kopp (B) Kopp had three steals in the first 10 minutes as part of Indiana’s strong defensive start to the game. He played a key role in Matthew Mayer being shut out. It was not a significant offensive game for Kopp, which follows a trend, and he missed two of three free throws — his first misses of the season.
Jalen Hood-Schifino (B+) It wasn’t a super efficient day, and Hood-Schifino had some turnover and foul troubles, but this was a solid overall effort by a true freshman point guard on the road. He played a key role on both ends as IU ran out to its large first half lead.
Trey Galloway (A-) Galloway was efficient, he took care of the ball, and he was solid on Terrence Shannon defensively. Foul trouble continues to be a challenge and could have put IU in a serious bind as Illinois pressed over the last 10 minutes.
Tamar Bates (B-) After some breakout performances early in the year, Bates is in a funk right now. He hasn’t made a shot in IU’s last two games despite playing a total of 44 minutes.
Malik Reneau (B) Reneau brought toughness and physicality off the bench and had a stellar day on the glass with six rebounds in just 14 minutes. Fouls continue to be a problem, but Reneau seems to be trending back in the right direction.
C.J. Gunn, Kaleb Banks and Anthony Leal also played briefly.
In total, Indiana had 11 scholarship players healthy and available on Thursday. Race Thompson (knee) and Xavier Johnson (foot) were unavailable.
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