Indiana earned its first Big Ten win of the 2022-23 season with an 81-65 triumph over Nebraska that seemed to address many of their shortcomings stemming from a conference opening loss at Rutgers.
The Hoosiers started fast in this one and never trailed. They built a 14-2 lead to open the game, and Nebraska never got back within seven. IU extended the lead out to as much as 22 late in the second half.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won with another edition of The Report Card.
No. 14 Indiana (8-1, 1-1) will next travel to Las Vegas to play Arizona on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on FOX.
Three-point shooting was the story of the night for Indiana. The Hoosiers went 11-of-25 from long range (44 percent) and shot 53 percent (32-of-60) overall from the floor on the evening.
Much like Rutgers a few days earlier, Nebraska doubled almost every post touch, meaning the Hoosiers would once again sink or swim with perimeter shooting. And it started with passing out of the low block by Trayce Jackson-Davis, which led to 10 assists for the IU big man, and a triple-double.
“There’s nowhere to go with the ball but to get it out and try to find open shooters,” IU coach Mike Woodson said.
“Tonight, we were really good in that area, and we made shots tonight. Life it pretty good when you can make shots when your best player is being double-teamed. You’ve just got to make sure that the spacing is correct, guys are cutting properly, and the ball has got to come out. It just can’t stick.”
Indiana had a season-low free throw attempt rate of 13.3 percent despite 38 points in the paint. But their 3-point shooting made up for the difference and led to a 62.5 percent effective field goal rate and 1.13 points per possession.
The Hoosiers assisted on 22-of-32 field goals (68.8 percent). Indiana did have a season-high 15 turnovers, but that seemed to be more about an off night from starting point guard Xavier Johnson than bad offense.
It’s impossible to know how much more challenging this game may have been with Nebraska starting point guard Sam Griesel, who averages 11.3 points and 4.9 assists while giving the Huskers more length and vision on the perimeter at 6-foot-6.
Nebraska ran a lot of 5-out to try to pull Indiana’s big men away from the paint to create opportunities for cuts and drives to the basket. A few of those got home on ball screen coverage mishaps, but by-and-large Indiana’s defense was sound on the night.
IU held Nebraska to just 43 points over the first 31 minutes before the Huskers scored 22 over the last nine, as the Hoosiers seemed to lose focus with a big lead. Overall, Nebraska’s .91 points per possession were their third lowest effort of the season.
After the game Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said they’ve won the rebounding battle in all but one of their games coming in, but Indiana seemed to be on a mission on the glass after being dominated by Rutgers in that area.
The Huskers’ head coach sounded like Woodson did after the Rutgers game. “I thought they played more physical than we did tonight,” Hoiberg said.
The Hoosiers finished with a 35-25 overall advantage on the glass and limited Nebraska to just four offensive rebounds. That was the Huskers’ lowest offensive rebounding rate of the season.
“We went back to our basics in terms of block-out rebounding drills to try to get their attention in that way, and then to let them know that rebounding is a big part of the basketball game,” Woodson said.
“We lacked in that area at Rutgers. Tonight, we were a lot better.”
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- ‘Chip on their shoulders’: Galloway, Bates enjoy big nights for IU against Nebraska
- Watch: Woodson, Galloway, Jackson-Davis discuss win over Nebraska
- IU basketball: Indiana 81 Nebraska 65 — Three keys | Highlights | Final stats
- Trayce Jackson-Davis gets third triple-double in IU basketball history
- Long form highlights:
Trayce Jackson-Davis (A) Of course you know he got the triple-double, and it was earned from effort on the glass and running the floor for transition opportunities. Don’t lose sight of his three blocks, which Hoiberg said set the tone in the game, along with three steals. Yes, he had four turnovers in 36 minutes, but that is going to come with him facing so many doubles.
Race Thompson (B) Thompson was better in the game after a couple disappointing outings. He connected on just his third three of the season to get Indiana going early, and added six rebounds on the night. IU will need big efforts in the two marquee matchups coming up next.
Xavier Johnson (C) We’re giving Johnson the benefit of the doubt, as he appeared to be battling some kind of lower leg issue that seemed to nag him. With Jalen Hood-Schifino out, he didn’t have much of a choice other than to push through it. Obviously a 2-of-8 shooting night with seven turnovers is one he’d like to forget.
Miller Kopp (B+) It was a Bizarro World night for Kopp, who was just 1-of-5 from three but made 5-of-6 from 2-point range including several nice scoring plays off the dribble — something he hasn’t shown much of to this point. Indiana can be a much better team if he can prove to be a consistent threat off the bounce. Kopp was also active on the glass relative to his past performances at IU.
Trey Galloway (A) Obviously a breakout perimeter shooting performance for Galloway. He had four threes on the night after making just six in each of his first two seasons at IU. If he can consistently add that element to his game he can reach an All-Big Ten level in his career. Also – he had just one turnover, and it was his first of the season in 138 minutes of action — often as a primary ball handler.
Malik Reneau (B) Foul trouble continues to be a theme, as Reneau has to learn the tricks of playing physical at the college level without drawing whistles. Perhaps because he was conscious of not fouling, Reneau got beat on the block a couple times. But he contributed in a number of ways, including a really nice drop off pass to Jackson-Davis for an and-one.
Tamar Bates (A) Indiana fans can hope this is the beginning of Bates being a consistent volume scorer from all three levels — the missing link for the team right now. He’s now had 19 or more points in two of his last four games after an electrifying 5-of-8 effort from beyond-the-arc.
Jordan Geronimo (C) Geronimo is struggling to come into games and contribute of late. He’s got just four points and two rebounds over the last three contests, and he’s made just 1-of-10 shots over that span. He had no rebounds or blocks for the second straight game.
C.J. Gunn and Kaleb Banks played in the last minute along with walk-on Michael Shipp. Logan Duncomb was in uniform but did not play. In total, Indiana had 11 scholarship players healthy and available on Wednesday. Jalen Hood-Schifino (back), Anthony Leal (ankle) were out.
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