Battling for a bid to the NCAA Tournament, Indiana did something that they had only done once prior to tonight. They won a road game, this time against a Minnesota team who is also fighting for their tournament lives.
IU knocked off the Golden Gophers 68-56 with a strong effort over the final 30 minutes at Williams Arena on Wednesday night.
A big reason why Indiana was successful against Minnesota was the play of freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis and redshirt sophomore forward Race Thompson.
Coming off a game where he only attempted three shots in the Hoosiers 89-65 loss at Michigan on Sunday, Indiana made it a priority to get their big man the ball. It paid off, as Jackson-Davis scored 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field while also grabbing 16 rebounds. Both the points and rebounds were career highs for Jackson-Davis.
Thompson, who came in averaging 11.5 minutes per game, played 25 minutes off the bench for head coach Archie Miller. During that time on the floor in his hometown of Minneapolis, Thompson scored 9 points and secured 10 rebounds while providing Indiana with another big body to help with defense on the interior.
“Offensively we had a main focus of getting Trayce going early, he’s so important to our team, and he responded with a great performance, but we had a lot of other guys,” Miller said. “I thought Race Thompson’s 25 minutes was unbelievable in terms of being able to win on the road.”
Turnovers and a lack of ball movement have been common themes as to why Indiana has struggled on the road this season. Today, they had 15 assists compared to 10 turnovers, and were able to play at their own pace throughout the game.
“Our guards did a really good job of keeping things under control,” Miller said. “If you just look at our assists totals on the road, that was big.”
Minnesota made 9 of their first 11 shots and the Golden Gophers shot 41.9 percent from the field for the first half as they took a 31-28 lead into the locker room.
IU locked down on the defensive end after Minnesota’s fast start. The Gophers made just 12 of their final 50 shots and held Minnesota to 25 points on 8-of-30, or 26.7 percent, from the field after the break.
“The first eight to ten minutes of the game was a little bit hard sledding for us defensively, and then I give our guys credit, that’s when we figured out how to make the game a little bit grimy,” Miller said.
Minnesota led 23-13 nine minutes into the game but the Hoosiers outscored the Golden Gophers 55-33 the rest of the way.
With Indiana needing wins to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, they delivered on the road tonight and captured a quadrant one victory.
Inside The Numbers:
Two players were in double figures for Indiana. Trayce Jackson-Davis led Indiana with 27 points and Devonte Green had 11 off the bench. Jackson-Davis was also IU’s leading rebounder with 16.
IU won the rebounding battle 39-38, including an 18-12 advantage down the stretch. Indiana had 10 second chance points on the night while holding the Golden Gophers to zero.
For the game, Indiana was 24-of-54, or 44.4 percent, from the field including 4-of-14, or 28.6 percent, from three-point range.
The Hoosiers were 16-of-22, or 72.7 percent, from the foul line.
For the game, IU had 15 assists compared to 10 turnovers, while Minnesota had 18 assists and 12 turnovers.
Payton Willis and Marcus Carr led Minnesota with twelve points apiece.
Indiana (17-9, 7-8) hosts the No. 9 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in a Big Ten conference matchup. The game tips off at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 23.
See also: Final stats and highlights
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