For this first time since 2018-19, Indiana is 2-0 in the Big Ten after a December road win in league play at Michigan.
Sparked by the bench, IU opened up their biggest lead of the game, 28-21 with 8:01 left in the first. But the Wolverines led 18-9 the rest of the half with Kel’el Ware on the bench. And Michigan led 59-53 with nine minutes to go and it looked like they could pull away. But Indiana responded with a 7-0 run, and things were tight the rest of the way. There were seven ties, five lead changes and no one led by more than three in the final eight minutes.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won 78-75 with another edition of The Report Card.
Indiana (7-1, 2-0) will next face Auburn in Atlanta on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.
By most measures, Indiana had their best offensive game against a high major in this young season. The Hoosiers scored 1.08 points per possession, and they did that once again with very little reliance on the 3-point shot. For the second straight game IU was 3-of-9 from three.
That low volume of makes from long range means IU has to be very efficient from two to win games, and they were pretty good, making 27-of-49 (55 percent) from inside the arc. Michigan puts comparable size to IU on the floor, but the Hoosiers dominated the paint, with a 50-28 scoring advantage.
Indiana struggled mightily with turnovers in the first half. They had 10 before the break, but just three after. And because they had more possessions that ended in shots, they got more second chance opportunities. The Hoosiers had six second half offensive rebounds that led to seven second chance points.
Everything started clicking offensively late in the game. IU scored 25 points in the last nine minutes. They went to their bread and butter — the post — but when double-teams came the ball started to move.
For the second straight game Indiana did a good job against a very good Big Ten point guard. Dug McDaniel was coming off a 33 point game, and he had scored 20 or more five times this season. But IU forced him into a very inefficient 13 points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field. Freshman guard Gabe Cupps deserves a great deal of credit for contending with McDaniel, along with Trey Galloway. The gameplan we clearly geared towards slowing McDaniel and forcing him into tough shots.
IU gave up a lot of points, but for a defense on the road without its starting point guard, it was serviceable effort.
Indiana’s focus was running McDaniel and the rest of the Wolverines off the arc and into the paint — and it worked. Michigan shot a season low 17 threes including just seven attempts from deep in the second half. That created some exposure, as the Wolverine frontcourt was able to get some good looks, but that appeared to be a tradeoff IU was willing to make.
Mike Woodson pressed the right buttons late with a foul with IU up three in the closing seconds, and placing Kel’el Ware on the inbounds passer on the final play.
The Hoosiers kept Michigan off the offensive glass and forced 14 turnovers. They allowed 1.04 points per possession. That’s in the danger zone, but it was just good enough on this night.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- With some big moments at Michigan, IU men’s basketball shows its mettle
- Watch: Woodson, Reneau and Gunn discuss win over Michigan
- IU basketball: Indiana 78 Michigan 75 — Three keys, highlights, final stats
- Extended highlights:
*Trey Galloway (B-) There’s no doubt Galloway is struggling when it comes to scoring the ball, but he didn’t let that bother the rest of his game. His defense was exceptional, didn’t commit a turnover, and made some big plays late. Galloway just has to shoot himself out of the slump.
*Malik Reneau (B) Perseverance defined Reneau’s night. He was having a bad game, with as many turnovers as points until the final stretch run when he took over. That says a lot about his ability to move on to the next possession when things aren’t going well.
*Kel’el Ware (B+) If Woodson made a mistake on this night, it may have been not playing Ware in the first half with two fouls. He never fouled again. Michigan took the lead with Ware out. But he was productive early and late, including the game-winner. “He made a hell of a move,” Woodson said. Ware also had a couple big defensive plays late in the game.
*Mackenzie Mgbako (B-) Woodson brought him into the game in the final seconds just to make free throws and he delivered. Mgbako hasn’t missed at the stripe all season, a perfect 17-of-17. He ceded time to C.J. Gunn in this game because Gunn was having a greater impact, but Mgbako had some good moments too.
*Gabe Cupps (B) Cupps certainly didn’t stuff the stat sheet, but he was very good on defense and at facilitating the offense. You’d like to see him be a bit more aggressive when it comes to scoring the ball. He passed up at least one open three.
Anthony Walker (B) Walker gave Indiana very good minutes off the bench, including a perfect 4-of-4 from the field. He does a great job of getting his shoulders squared up to the rim. Walker is turning into a solid veteran contributor.
Kaleb Banks (C+) Banks was effective attacking off the dribble, but he’s fouling too much right now. He was part of bench group that gave IU good production.
C.J. Gunn (B+) This was a performance Gunn needed. He made as many threes on this night as his entire IU career coming into the game. And his defense was even better, as Gunn used his awareness and instincts to come up with four steals and a block. He can be a major factor for IU with this kind of effort.
Payton Sparks (B-) With Ware in first half foul trouble he stepped in and gave IU some good minutes. And Sparks looked better at the free throw line.
Anthony Leal did not play.
Xavier Johnson was out with a lower leg injury. Jakai Newton (knee) is out long-term.
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