It was the great escape from frigid Minnesota. Indiana won its fourth game in a row on Wednesday evening in Minneapolis, but you won’t find this one hanging in the Louvre any time soon.
With last place Minnesota dictating the tempo on both ends, neither team led by more than seven points the entire game. The Gophers led 24-18 in the first half, only to see IU rally for a 33-30 halftime edge. The Hoosiers pulled out to a 47-40 second half lead, but Minnesota came back and led 57-54 with 3:20 left. That’s when the Hoosiers closed the game on a decisive 7-0 run to win it.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won 61-57 with another edition of The Report Card.
Indiana (14-6, 5-4) will next host Ohio State at 8 p.m. Eastern on Saturday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Indiana wasn’t surprised to see a zone defense, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they played on this end, especially early. They had five turnovers in the first eight minutes.
But to the credit of the players, IU only turned it over five more times the rest of the game, and to the credit of the shorthanded coaching staff, IU started to generate some good looks.
Some of Indiana’s best opportunities against the zone came when they placed Miller Kopp on the baseline and threw the ball into the post to Trayce Jackson-Davis on the same side. That basically eliminated any help on Jackson-Davis.
They also got open looks with high screens and side overloads. But many of the good looks IU was able to generate didn’t go down. And with possessions limited due to the methodical pace on both ends, that meant trouble for the Hoosiers.
Indiana made just 4-of-14 from beyond the 3-point arc, and the left points on the board at the stripe, making just 11-of-18.
“It really wasn’t anything that was troubling us I would say,” fill-in coach Yasir Rosemond said. “If you’re not making shots against the zone it’s just tough.”
And it was indeed tough. IU scored just .94 points per possession, their worst game since the Kansas debacle, and their third worst game of the season, along with the loss at Rutgers. Their effective field goal percentage (44.6) was also third worst of the season.
Minnesota’s attack wasn’t difficult to comprehend — play five out, try to get Indiana to switch into a favorable dribble-drive matchup, and don’t be in any kind of hurry to find it.
IU seemed a step slow to loose balls, defending cuts, and recovering on shooters for much of the night. And Minnesota committed just five turnovers for the entire game — the lowest forced turnover rate of the season by IU.
With Golden Gophers severely short-handed, there was really just one guy to stop, and for a long stretch IU couldn’t do it. As a team Indiana did a horrible job getting into Jamison Battle on the perimeter and forcing him off the 3-point lane. When Battle drove he generally struggled at the rim, but several IU players casually got a hand up on his jump shot rather than aggressively forcing him to drive.
Fortunately everyone not named Battle had a miserable night, as the rest of the team was just 1-of-16 from three and 14-of-48 overall from the field.
And despite the challenges, IU held the Gophers scoreless over the last three minutes plus, and limited them to just .88 points per possession for the game.
“We dug in defensively, got some stops, and here we are, we came out with a victory in a tough game on the road,” Rosemond said. … “We were just in the huddle saying we’ve got to get stops, we’ve got to put stops together. All the guys were engaged, the bench guys, everybody, from the managers, everybody was just saying we’ve got to get stops, we’ve got to get stops. So, it was a total team effort.”
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- ‘We’re going to pull this thing out’: How associate head coach Yasir Rosemond guided Indiana basketball to victory
- Watch: Yasir Rosemond and Trayce Jackson-Davis discuss win over Minnesota
- IU basketball: Indiana 61 Minnesota 57 — Three keys | Highlights | Final stats
- KING OF THE BLOCK: Trayce Jackson-Davis is IU basketball’s all-time leader in blocked shots
- Long form highlights:
Trayce Jackson-Davis (A) You know Jackson-Davis is dominant when he has massive games no matter how he’s defended. Straight up? Check. Help? Check. Zone? Check. He carried IU with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the second half alone. There are too many superlatives to fit here, but how about this stat — Jackson-Davis had four blocks in the last five minutes of the game. It was the first 20-20 game by an IU player since D.J. White.
Race Thompson (B-) Thompson appeared to be the guy IU trusted against Battle and he did fine. Most of Battle’s damage came in transition or after someone else switched to him. He still doesn’t look comfortable scoring the ball coming off the knee injury, but the energy was there. Thompson had a great first half sequence with a couple contests in the paint on defense, and a soaring offensive rebound that led to a Miller Kopp three.
Miller Kopp (B+) He played the entire game without a turnover. Kopp is giving Indiana everything he has right now. He made a potentially game saving play at the end, diving for a loose ball and wisely calling a timeout before he was tied up. Minnesota was targeting him on defense, and at times it seems he has open shots but isn’t comfortable with a potential contest.
Jalen Hood-Schifino (C+) Hood-Schifino continues to be in a shooting funk, but he was decent otherwise. He did a good job of pushing off Gopher misses to try to give IU transition looks before Minnesota could get into their zone. He had four assists to one turnover, but there were some defensive lapses.
Trey Galloway (B-) After missing two free throws and two threes early in the game, he came through late with a clutch three that ended a 10-2 run, and he made two free throws at the end to seal the game. Galloway had some uncharacteristic bad passes, but still had five assists to two turnovers.
Tamar Bates (D) He forced bad shots on the offensive end rather than taking what the defense gave. He’s now been shut out in three of the last four games.
Malik Reneau (B) In a bizarre turn of events, Reneau had 10 first half points, and then barely played in the second. He had a couple huge first half baskets to quiet the home crowd. In the end, playing against five out, IU liked Thompson better as a perimeter defender.
Jordan Geronimo (D) After several good games, Geronimo came off the bench and struggled. He showed poor judgment against the zone, couldn’t catch a point blank pass from Jackson-Davis, and fouled on the other end.
C.J. Gunn also appeared in the game briefly.
In total, Indiana had 11 scholarship players healthy and available on Wednesday. Logan Duncomb did not travel with the team due to an illness. Xavier Johnson (foot) was unavailable.
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