Every win is big for an Indiana team vying for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Wednesday night’s victory over Minnesota was not always pretty, but IU took care of business on their home floor.
The Hoosiers defeated the Minnesota 72-67 at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana in what was a tightly contested game throughout.
The largest lead by either team was 11 by Indiana when they were up 71-60 with under a minute remaining. With the game knotted at 54 apiece with 8:19 remaining in the second half, IU took control after a Joey Brunk layup sparked a 9-1 run that put the Hoosiers up 63-55 with 5:39 remaining.
“I thought the whole key to the game was Joey Brunk. His impact on the game on both ends of the floor, him being able to play as many minutes as he did was huge. Finally got it going on offense a little bit, but rebounded as well,” Indiana head coach Archie Miller said.
After consecutive road losses coming into tonight, Archie Miller was proud of the way his team responded against the Golden Gophers.
“Proud of our guys. At this time of year you want short-term memory loss, so to speak. Although last week was a hard week, there were some positives. We were able to continue to keep with the positives,” Miller said.
IU went inside offensively early and often. For the game, 52 of Indiana’s 72 points came in the paint.
Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way with 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Brunk and Justin Smith chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
For the first time all season all five of Indiana’s starters were in double figures with Al Durham and Rob Phinisee each adding 11.
It took that collective effort to offset a big night by Minnesota’s star center.
Daniel Oturu led the Gophers with 24 points, but he finished the game just 11-of-27 from the field.
“I thought Joe did a good job of not fouling, the best job of playing as hard as he possibly could. We were able to bother some things in and around the basket at times on his drives. That’s what we were looking for. Keep Trayce out of a little bit of foul trouble, see if we can hang in there,” Miller said.
Despite not always being pretty, Miller will take the win. It’s all that matters at this time of year.
“Tough team to play against. Fortunate to beat them twice. For us to be 19-11, 9-10 with one to go in this league, I think we’re continuing to trend in the right way,” Miller said.
Now the Hoosiers will try to finish the season by beating Wisconsin on senior day and continue their case to secure their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2016.
Inside The Numbers:
IU won the rebounding battle 35-34 but they held a 19-9 margin at one point in the game.
For the game, Indiana was 30-of-59, or 50.8 percent, from the field including 3-of-15, or 20 percent, from three-point range.
The Hoosiers were 9-of-17, or 52.9 percent, from the foul line.
IU had 14 assists compared to 10 turnovers, while Minnesota had eight assists and 11 turnovers.
Gabe Kalscheur was the only other Minnesota player in double figures beyond Oturu with 14 points, but he was 1-of-6 from behind the arc.
Indiana (19-11, 9-10) hosts the Wisconsin Badgers in a Big Ten conference matchup. The game tips off at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 7.
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