The honeymoon period for Mike Woodson is over.
In front of over 16,000 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, Indiana (8-3, 1-1 B1G) looked lethargic, overwhelmed, and disheartened, falling to No. 8 Kansas (10-1), 84-62. Six Jayhawks scored in double figures, led by Gradey Dick’s 20 points. Dajuan Harris also had a 10-point, 10-assist double-double.
Trayce Jackson-Davis blocked a career-high nine shots, the second-most in a single-game in IU program history.
During pregame warmups, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana’s five-star true freshman guard, was dressed and ready to go. In fact, all 13 scholarship Hoosiers were available.
They may have been available, but none of them were ready to play. The nightmares from the beginning of the Arizona game carried over to Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks flew out to a 12-2 lead, and it ballooned to 16-5, as well as 21-8.
IU could neither protect the basketball nor defend the precise and efficient Jayhawks in the early going. Kansas made their first four shots from the floor. Meanwhile, Indiana committed six turnovers in the first six minutes.
The sold-out crowd in Lawrence, which had a fair share of Hoosiers fans, erupted in favor of their home team during the early explosion.
Things got worse for Indiana before they would get better.
With 9:12 left in the first half, IU starter Xavier Johnson suffered an injury to his ankle when Dajuan Harris inadvertently fell on it when scrambling for a loose ball. Johnson’s teammates helped him off the court, and he was putting no weight on his right foot.
Per IU release, Johnson was held out of the remainder of the game with a foot injury. No further update was provided on his condition.
Indiana briefly put a pause to their turnover issues, but Gradey Dick took that time to further increase Kansas’ lead. Dick, one of the sharpest shooters in the country, drilled back-to-back threes to push the advantage to 20 points. After Bobby Pettiford scored a moment later, the Jayhawks led 42-20.
The Hoosiers’ best run of the game came in the closing stages of the first half. Hood-Schifino hit a three, and Jackson-Davis scored his first two baskets of the game soon after that. After TJD made two free throws before the break, Indiana trailed by 15.
After halftime, IU cut the deficit to as low as 10 points. Tamar Bates got the call to start the second half in place of Johnson, and he played a key role in bringing IU to within arm’s length of KU.
Indiana could never cut it to single digits. IU missed three shots that could have kept their run going, including a missed layup by Bates on a 2-on-1 fastbreak. Once Kansas found their footing, it was over.
The Jayhawks dominated two aspects of the game: points in the paint and forcing turnovers leading to fastbreak opportunities. They leveraged both to pull away from the Hoosiers on Saturday.
In the second half alone, Kansas scored 26 in the painted area and had 11 fastbreak points. IU had double-digit turnovers in both halves. What’s even more frightening for IU is they limited Kansas All-American candidate Jalen Wilson to just 11 points on 4-of-18 shooting on the day. Had he put together an even average game, the margin of victory could have been larger for KU.
Harris, Dick, and Kevin McCullar helped the Jayhawks seal the lopsided victory. All three had at least six points in the second half, and all three had multiple steals after halftime to keep IU off the board.
The Hoosiers finished the game with three players in double digits: Hood-Schifino, Jackson-Davis, and Race Thompson.
IU will have two easier matchups coming up with Elon and Kennesaw State both visiting Assembly Hall. Elon is 2-9 this season, and is rated No. 345 in the country per KenPom. The Elon Phoenix and Indiana Hoosiers will tip at 7 PM ET on Tuesday night in Bloomington. BTN will have the broadcast.
Featured Image: Kansas Basketball