Earlier this week on his radio show Indiana head coach Mike Woodson said Trey Galloway’s multiple absences had been a “tremendous loss” for his team.
He wasn’t kidding.
On Thursday the 6-foot-5 guard was a tremendous addition to IU’s rotation — and that should not have been surprising.
In November Galloway suffered a wrist injury going up for a fast-break layup against St. John’s. He missed 10 games rehabbing, and in his first game back provided a major spark with eight points, four assists, and his gritty brand of defense in an upset win over then No. 13 Ohio State.
More recently the Culver, Ind. product had missed another five games due to a high-groin injury. But once again, he returned to ignite the Hoosiers at a time when they desperately needed energy.
After missing half of Indiana’s regular season games, the Big Ten Tournament presented an opportunity Galloway was eagerly awaiting.
“I knew I was going to try to play Thursday, and I knew I was gonna be ready and I got ready so it was great,” said Galloway after Indiana’s 74-69 win over Michigan.
Galloway finished with four points, five assists, and three steals against the Wolverines. He started off by driving the open lane and rising for a dunk for his first points back, making it clear his body was right once again.
On defense, Galloway was a game changer as well. On one play, he picked Eli Brooks’ pocket, which led to a Trayce Jackson-Davis dunk to cut the Michigan lead to 10 with 9:56 to play.
On another fast-break, Galloway crossed his man and got into the lane. This time, he threw a laser into the hands of Jackson-Davis for another score.
He combined with Jordan Geronimo, Jackson-Davis, Xavier Johnson, and Rob Phinisee to give IU an athletic lineup and turn the game after they fell behind in the second half by 17.
“I just think with that lineup, you had Trey coming off ball screens, X coming off ball screens, and we had space with shooters. And then JG can also stretch the floor. And me being able to be a lob threat was big,” said Jackson-Davis of the lineup.
“But at the same time, it’s not just going to always be those five. It’s going to be a contribution of different guys every single night, and that’s what Coach is big on, it’s got to always be next man up.”
There was no easing Galloway back into action. He went full-throttle, playing 28 minutes including the final 16 of the game. Indiana needed all of them with their NCAA Tournament lives on the line.
Woodson was looking someone, something, anything to slow down Michigan.
“I was searching as a coach trying to find the combination that could change the game in Geronimo and Galloway and X and then I came back with Miller along with Big Fella, changed the whole dynamics of that game,” Woodson.
There was one point in the second half where the sophomore hobbled around for a second before getting back into the game.
No big deal.
Later he missed a break-away layup and then made a bad pass over the course of less than a minute of clock time.
Stamina issues appeared to be creeping up on him after missing so much game time and not practicing.
“I mean I just wanted to go out there and really not think about it. Because you can’t in the moment. it’s just in the moment I couldn’t really think about it much,” said Galloway of playing so much in his first game back.
“Obviously, it’s going to be sore but I gotta keep going. Like I said I got my teammates with me out there, so I know who I’m fighting for. And, that’s the one thing I was just really thinking about is going out there and fighting for them.”
After saving their season, Galloway and the rest of the Hoosiers won’t be able to fully recover from the intense game against Michigan.
They get less than 24 hours before they take on No. 1 seed Illinois at 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Friday. But Galloway is thinking of the more important task at hand rather than focusing on his fatigue or injury.
“That’s one thing I try not to focus on being tired or anything,” repeated Galloway. “It’s challenging playing two games in a row, three or four, but we have to in order to win.”
And winning suddenly seems much more likely with Galloway back in the mix.
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