Indiana got a crucial win Wednesday night in Bloomington, knocking off the Minnesota Golden Gophers by a score of 82-72.
This was a game IU had to have, given its position on the NCAA Tournament bubble and the strength of the remaining schedule. They have a similar game Saturday at Assembly Hall, as the Michigan State Spartans come to town. After that Indiana, now 12-9, will travel to Rutgers and Purdue, as well as host third-ranked Michigan. Just one win out of the final four likely puts the Hoosier into the Big Dance.
Here are some notes, numbers, and trends from the win over Minnesota.
- In the first half, Indiana struggled to contain Minnesota’s guards. Minnesota guards had 30 of their 37 first-half points. IU ended the half with four consecutive empty trips.
- Trayce Jackson-Davis shook off the notion that he starts games off slow, scoring six points after the first five possessions. However, TJD had just four the rest of the half. Jackson-Davis finished with 20 points and ten boards. He has hit double digit rebounds nine times and surpassed 20 points 12 times.
- It was the first time recently that Archie Miller stuck with his veterans over his freshmen. The most any freshman played was Trey Galloway, who played 12 minutes. Khristian Lander and Jordan Geronimo made brief cameos, while Anthony Leal could not get off the bench. When Hunter and Phinisee are playing well, the freshmen see their roles reduced.
- Jerome Hunter gave Indiana a big boost of the bench, scoring a career-high 16 points in the win. Hunter knocked in two threes and dominated off the ball. Over his last four games Hunter is 7-of-12 from 3-point range.
- Indiana took the game over in the second half, scoring 1.4 points per possession to Minnesota’s 1.00.
- Indiana improved their shooting by a wide margin tonight, an area that they have struggled this season. For the game, the Hoosiers’ shooting splits were .578/.583/.767. Indiana’s 57.8 percent overall from the field was their best performance of the season and the first time they have been above 50 percent in calendar 2021.
- Indiana’s veteran backcourt had a tough task on defense with Minnesota’s Marcus Carr. They held their own, “limiting” Carr to 19 points on 7-16 shooting. Even more encouraging, Al Durham and Rob Phinisee picked up the slack offensively, scoring a combined 26 points on 9-13 shooting. Phinisee’s six assists tied a season high. Durham is 11-of-18 from 3-point range over his last six games.
- IU ran away with what had been a close game in the second half, going on an 18-2 run when the team heated up from three-point range.
- For the fifth time this year IU responded to a single loss with a win, avoiding a losing streak. IU hasn’t lost more than two consecutive games all season, but also haven’t won more than two straight. Overall IU has won three of their last four contests.
- Despite the big win, the Hoosiers still have a major problem on their hands: turnovers. IU had 17 turnovers on the night, and it continues to be a thorn in the side of Archie Miller. The 17 miscues were the second most in a game this season. IU has had 12 or more turnovers in five of the last six contests.
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