Down three players including All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana sputtered at times but ultimately got the result it wanted.
The Hoosiers led 39-30 at halftime, and just 64-57 with 9:04 remaining. But IU went on a 23-7 run from that point to finally put away pesky Little Rock
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won with another edition of The Report Card.
IU (5-0) will host Jackson State on Friday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern (BTN).
At times Indiana looked lost on offense trying to reinvent itself after playing through Trayce Jackson-Davis for more than three years. It was the first time IU had played a game without the big man since he arrived on campus in 2019 – 98 straight contests.
So yes, there were stretches of erratic play on the offensive end, despite the fact the Hoosiers ended up posting 87 points. A better defense just might have been a major problem on this night, but Little Rock was not that.
Indiana scored 1.16 points per possession, which was their lowest production of the season against non-high major competition, but it wasn’t too far off.
What really kickstarted Indiana in the second half was Xavier Johnson’s facilitation of the offense. The fifth-year guard was able to get downhill routinely, and his decision making was on point.
“Me and X (Xavier Johnson), we got into like a little ball screen thing,” Race Thompson said. “You see Trayce and X do it all the time, but you get X for Fino (Jalen Hood-Schifino) on a ball screen and you set a good screen, you’re going to make something happen. They’ll make the play for you. It was really just X playing, and he made the plays.”
Johnson had 10 of Indiana’s 18 assists on 34 field goals.
This was yet another game where Indiana could use its size as a fallback option. Woodson acknowledge the size advantage after the game, while also admitting things will be different as the schedule gets more challenging.
“I think we have the bodies to bang with some of the bigger teams, but only time will tell. I’m anxious to get to games like that,” Woodson said.
The drop off without Jackson-Davis seemed to be more significant on the defensive end.
The Hoosiers allowed .91 points per possession. That’s typically a winning number, but well above their previous high (.79) against non-high major foes. The issues were a season low forced turnover percentage (16.1), and season high free throw rate (36.4). Indiana seemed a step slow against the up-tempo Trojans, who only turned it over 12 times and got to the line for 24 free throw attempts.
Another major factor for IU — they allowed too many offensive rebounds. The undersized Trojans snared 14 and turned them into 21 second chance points.
Fortunately for Indiana, when Little Rock actually shot the ball from the field, things didn’t go well. The Trojans made just 33.3 percent overall, and just 28 percent from three. Their 38.6 effective field goal percentage was a season low. A major factor was IU’s rim protection. The Hoosiers had a season high 11 blocks. With driving lanes open, they lived and died with that back-end protection, however. 15 of Indiana’s 20 fouls come from front court players, as they tried to fill the void left by Jackson-Davis.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- With Jackson-Davis out, Thompson and Reneau fill the void inside for IU against Little Rock
- Watch: Woodson, Hood-Schifino, Thompson discuss win over Little Rock
- IU basketball: Indiana 87 Little Rock 68 — Three keys | Highlights | Final stats
- Long form highlights:
Race Thompson (A) This was one of Thompson’s best games in an IU uniform. Often thought of as playing second fiddle to Jackson-Davis, the veteran stepped up his production in a big way when needed. Thompson needed just eight shots to score 20 points, while leading the Hoosiers in rebounding.
Xavier Johnson (A) Johnson stepped up in a major way to help stave off an upset attempt. He had five points and three assists in that 23-7 late game run by Indiana, and 10 assists against just two turnovers for the game.
Miller Kopp (B) Kopp continues to do what is needed from him — make threes at a high rate on a reasonably high volume. His 3-of-6 effort from deep makes him now 12-of-23 on the season. He also broke his two-game run without a rebound on Wednesday.
Jalen Hood-Schifino (B-) Hood-Schifino is still figuring some things out when it comes to his perimeter shot, and he made some uncharacteristic bad passes which played a part in five turnovers. But he still made 6-of-13 shots and added seven rebounds.
Malik Reneau (B-) Reneau got off to a fast start with six points in the first four minutes. But foul trouble, a now recurring theme, is limiting his ability to stay on the court.
Tamar Bates (B-) Bates appears to be figuring some things out off the dribble. But his 3-point shot continues to let him down.
Jordan Geronimo (B+) With five blocks on the night, Geronimo now has 10 over his last two games in a total of 36 minutes. He was highly efficient, making 5-of-6 shots including a three, but fouls and turnovers were a problem.
C.J. Gunn (B-) While he’s surprised on the plus side early on overall, Gunn hasn’t been an efficient scorer to this point. That’s been a challenge for a player who isn’t afraid to put up shots.
Kaleb Banks (D) In his first minutes of his career with the game in question, Banks made just 1-of-6 free throws and had two turnovers in eight minutes.
Logan Duncomb (B) The door was open for Duncomb with Jackson-Davis out. He came in a provided some positives, but three fouls limited his role and Woodson ultimately looked elsewhere.
Indiana had 10 scholarship players healthy and available on Wednesday, and all 10 saw the floor. Trey Galloway was inactive with a minor knee injury. Anthony Leal is out with an ankle injury. Trayce Jackson-Davis was out with a back issue.
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