Indiana’s season came to an abrupt and definitive end on Thursday evening in Portland. The Hoosiers were defeated soundly by No. 5 seed St. Mary’s 82-53 in the NCAA Tournament round of 64 at the MODA Center.
IU trailed 40-28 at halftime. They were led in the game by Trayce Jackson-Davis with 12 points. Xavier Johnson had 11 points and 5 assists, and Jordan Geronimo scored 9 points and had a team-high 6 rebounds.
The Hoosiers end the season with a 21-14 record.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Nothing but contested twos. St. Mary’s defense was as good as advertised. They ran IU off the 3-point line and made everything difficult inside the paint. IU only got off 10 3-point attempts, and shot just 34 percent overall for the game. Players other than Trayce Jackson-Davis were 13-of-43, and the combination of Miller Kopp, Parker Stewart, Race Thompson and Rob Phinisee went 2-of-19. And Jackson-Davis only got off 10 attempts as the Gaels doubled from multiple angles.
2. St. Mary’s slices up IU defense. Indiana’s defense got them this far, but they had trouble staying in front of the Gaels’ dribble drives all night. That led to St. Mary’s shooting 51.7 percent overall including 10-of-21 on 3-pointers. They had 16 assists on the night, many of which came from kick-outs after getting into the middle of the defense. The Hoosiers were slow to close out on shooters, only had two blocks, and gave up 10 offensive rebounds.
3. Let’s face it, this team was gassed. A lot of what was wrong with Indiana was hard to quantify. The Hoosiers were a step slow in just about every aspect of the game. Was it their crazy travel schedule, or five games in eight days? It seems reasonable to say that was at least part of the problem.
St. Mary’s was coming off eight days of rest, and it seemed like their rust and Indiana’s fatigue crossed paths in the first half. After IU took an early 21-17 lead, St. Mary’s went on a 50-12 run to blow the game wide open. The loss was Indiana’s worst by margin in their NCAA Tournament history.
“The situation they had was tough,” St. Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said of IU’s travel situation. “They really didn’t have a chance to prepare for us. … They were gassed.”
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