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IU basketball: Marshall at Indiana — The Report Card

Indiana faced a good challenge on Saturday evening in Bloomington.

Marshall went on a 17-0 run to take a 34-22 lead with 6:00 to go in the first half, but Indiana showed something with a quick and sustained response.  IU went on a 13-2 run over 2:50 in the first half, and outscored the Thundering Herd 68-45 the rest of the way after falling in that 12-point first half hole.

Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers finished off Marshall for the 90-79 win with another edition of The Report Card.

IU (6-0) will travel to Syracuse on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tip in connection with the Big Ten / ACC Challenge.  That game is the first of four high major opponents in the next five contests.

OFFENSE (B)

Indiana game planned for Marshall with the expectation All-American forward Trayce Jackson-Davis would be double-teamed in the post.

“We practiced as though he was going to get trapped the whole game, and they didn’t start trapping until the end of the first half,” head coach Mike Woodson said.

Once Indiana recognized this, the ball entered the post to Jackson-Davis on virtually every possession, and he made the Thundering Herd pay.

Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said he hoped to hold off on post doubles until later in the game so Indiana had less time to see what they were doing and adjust.  Truth be told, it didn’t matter if Marshall doubled Jackson-Davis or not.  He scored 22 in the first half, and another 21 in the second.

Why was Jackson-Davis able to continue to be effective even when the doubles came?  Better spacing, better passing out of the post, and better shooting.

Indiana made 8-of-15 three-pointers and they have now made 38-of-90 (42.2 percent) over their last five games.

“I think we spaced the floor a lot better than we did last year, and we have shooters everywhere. So you can’t just double-down, triple-down and sag and claw at the lane as much as we could last year,” Jackson-Davis said.

The Hoosiers shot 58 percent from the floor and 53 percent from behind the arc. In the last 3 games, IIU has shot 53.1 percent from the floor and 49.0 percent from long distance.

At 1.175, IU had its highest points per possession in a game this season, and 64.4 percent was their best effective field goal percentage.  This was the first time IU scored 90 or more points in a regulation contest since it put up 100 against Troy on November 16, 2019.

DEFENSE (B)

Marshall came into the game with one of the fastest offenses in the country, so it wasn’t a major surprise that they presented some early challenges for IU.  But with the Herd already with 30 points with still 8:18 left in the first half, the magnitude of Indiana’s struggle was a bit startling.  But Indiana brought its starters back in the game at that point and Marshall finished the half just 3-of-8 from the field with six turnovers.

“I came back once we got down 12 with the first unit and I thought our defense picked back up, Xavier, especially, where early on, when Khristian got in the game, we just weren’t into the ball,” Woodson said.

Indiana didn’t match Marshall’s tempo early, and they didn’t read their array of slips and back cuts off of ball screens.

“I thought again our coverages weren’t solid early on and they were getting behind our defense for layups,” Woodson said.  “I mean, they had I think as many points as we had at halftime in the paint, and that hasn’t happened since we been together as a ballclub.”

Marshall would go on to shoot just 40.6 percent in the second half, and IU did a better job keeping them out of the paint, instead forcing them into their weakness, the three-point shot, where they made just 3-of-11 after the break.

Still the Hoosiers gave up the most points per possession they’ve allowed this season at 1.03, and the highest effective field goal percentage, 53.1.  Marshall guards Andrew Taylor and Taevion Kinsey gave the Hoosiers fits all night off the bounce.  It was a reminder that while IU’s defense has looked elite early this season, that is fueled in part by the caliber of the opposition.  And it was a game where IU could have used two of its better defending guards, Rob Phinisee and Trey Galloway.


OTHER GAME COVERAGE


THE PLAYERS

Trayce Jackson-Davis (A+) We wrote prior to the season eight ways Jackson-Davis could end up better this year, and it seemed like all of them were on display as he broke the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall scoring record with 43 points.  You could take issue with his three second half turnovers, but really?  Just a dominant effort.

Race Thompson (B) Although he got the scoring started with a three-pointer, Thompson has been struggling offensively of late and he missed six of his final seven shots.  But Thompson’s effort is never in question as evidenced by his team high 10 rebounds to go with two steals and a block.

Miller Kopp (B-) The pace of the game wasn’t a great fit, but Kopp gave some good minutes, didn’t turn it over and made another three.  He’s made 6-of-14 over the last five games from behind the arc.

Parker Stewart (B) Stewart wasn’t particularly productive in 35 minutes, but he continued to show that he can be a shot-maker, and he was part of the unit that checked in around the eight minute mark of the first half and changed the game with better defensive intensity and rebounding.

Xavier Johnson (A+)  Johnson had his two turnovers in the first two minutes of the game.  After that, his play was elite on both ends of the floor.  His on the ball defense changed the game, and Johnson was under control with an attacking mindset on offense, and he never lost sight of getting the ball to Jackson-Davis.  Although he came to IU as a career 34 percent shooter from three, Johnson has made 5-of-9 thus far with IU.

Tamar Bates (B) When Indiana fell behind 34-22 and it looked like they could get run out of their own gym, it was Bates who stepped up and hit a three to turn the tide.  He played the final twelve minutes of the first half as IU turned the game around with better defense.

Jordan Geronimo (D) Geronimo, and really all of his teammates coming off the bench save for Bates, really struggled to impact the game positively in this one.  He’ll obviously need to focus on getting set when setting screens.

Khristian Lander (D) It isn’t going to be a trend line that points straight up.  Lander took a step back with unsteady play on both ends of the floor.

Michael Durr (D) While there are aspects of his game that are bit concerning right now, this was simply not a style of play where Durr is going to be a good fit.

Rob Phinisee and Trey Galloway were out with injuries.  Logan Duncomb was out due to a three game suspension.


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