Trayce Jackson-Davis had just seven touches and scored just 11 points on Tuesday against Jackson State. That was not going to fly for head coach Mike Woodson and the Hoosiers against Marshall.
“Yeah, when I look at the stat sheet and see that he only got seven shots tonight, he’s got to get more than that. So that’s on me,” Woodson said after the win on Tuesday.
Just five minutes into Friday night’s game the preseason First-Team All-American surpassed those totals and then took it further. Much further.
By the time the Hoosiers escaped with a 90-79 win– after trailing by 12 in the first-half– Jackson-Davis had 18 field goals on 24 attempts and 43 points, a career-high. The 43 points were also the most points scored by anyone in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The previous record-holder was Steve Alford who scored 42 points against Michigan State in 1987.
Jackson-Davis played the entire second half.
“I rode him. A few times in time outs I asked him if he was okay and he said ‘I’m good let me go,’ so we rode him,” Woodson said after the game. “We needed all 43 points.”
To open the game, the Thundering Herd had no answer for the big man. Every possession the ball found its way into the hands of Jackson-Davis. The junior started the scoring explosion by using his signature left-hand hook move. He followed it up by spinning baseline and keeping himself under enough control to scoop in a reverse layup.
Another possession, Jackson-Davis showcased his physicality and strength by muscling past a defender. He capped it off with a monstrous dunk to erase a 12-point deficit and bring the team within one. The move was a message to Marshall. Whatever he wanted, Jackson-Davis was going to get.
“It was more of what the defense was giving us, and the last two games they have been doubling a lot,” Jackson-Davis said of Marshall’s defensive strategy. “And this game, they decided to pay single coverage, so we made them pay with that.”
It wasn’t until the end of the first half that Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni– who coached alongside Woodson as a member of the New York Knicks coaching staff– changed his approach. He decided to throw double teams and attempted to trap Jackson-Davis to force turnovers. But, he handled it like a pro.
You know you want to watch every basket from @TrayceJackson's career-high 4️⃣3️⃣-point night. 👀
We have all 18 of 'em ⤵️. pic.twitter.com/YML1TpWW2k
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) November 28, 2021
Love celebrating with my brothers ❤️ pic.twitter.com/gr6shhUq2f
— TJD (@TrayceJackson) November 28, 2021
“I mean, we practiced as though he was going to get trapped the whole game, and they didn’t start trapping until the end of the first half,” said Woodson.
“So when I came back in that halftime, I tried to put guys in position based on how they were going to trap, and we ended up — I mean there were times he was beating the double-team, and then there were times he kicked it out to guys with wide open shots that were made. That was kind of nice to see as well.”
Although he was still able to bully his way into the paint and score, Jackson-Davis also showed why it isn’t a smart idea to double him. On one play, the big man backed his way into the paint, as the double came, he shoveled a pass to Parker Stewart at the top of the key for an open three. Later he again connected with Stewart, except this time, it was a crosscourt swing pass.
As an underclassmen, the forward only averaged 1.3 assists per game. Jackson-Davis is averaging 2.5 assists per game under the new regime. He had four tonight.
“Coach Woodson has us in a flee-flowing offense. You have us doing guard work and they got them doing post moves and stuff of that nature. He wants an NBA-style offense, and you have to be able to do everything.” Jackson-Davis said.
The Greenwood, Ind. native did not stop playing until the final whistle. With the game winding down, Jackson-Davis collected a pass at the top of the key with a wide-open lane. He dribbled the ball once before throwing down an athletic windmill slam for his 43rd point of the night, setting the record in style.
“I still don’t know what scoring record it is, if I’m being honest,” Jackson-Davis said with a straight face after the game.
When informed of what he had accomplished, Jackson-Davis smiled from ear-to-ear.
“Really? I didn’t know that,” he said.
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