MINNEAPOLIS — For just the second time this season, the Hoosiers earn a timely road victory against Minnesota behind Indiana freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis’s career-high evening and eighth career double-double. Jackson-Davis led all players with 27 points and 16 rebounds.
Indiana moves to 17-9 overall and gets a slight edge over Minnesota with a 7-8 conference record. Minnesota falls below .500 and now sits at 12-13 on the season. The Gophers’ road to the NCAA tournament may now rely exclusively on the Big Ten Tournament.
Indiana traded blow for blow against a Minnesota team that was still hopeful for their NCAA tournament chances. These two teams ranked 11th and 12th in the conference coming into the afternoon, and they battled closely in the first half. For Indiana fans, that has not been a common occurrence, especially on the road.
One of the key strategies for Indiana coming into the evening was to focus on denying Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu. And the Hoosiers should be happy with how they were able to limit one of the league’s contenders as the Big Ten’s Player of the Year. Indiana congested the lane for Oturu and restricted him to just nine points in 16 minutes. Oturu shot 4 of 8 from the field during the stretch. At the end of the evening, he tallied just 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Among the star frontcourt players, Jackson-Davis was clearly the better player this evening.
Among those assigned to defend Oturu, Jackson-Davis bounced back from his performance against Michigan where he only tallied five points and two rebounds. He was much more active, and as a result, more successful against the Minnesota defense. Despite Minnesota double-teaming and sometimes triple-teaming him, Jackson-Davis managed to find his way through a wall of Gopher arms with footwork and staying active above the rim.
Jackson-Davis led all scorers with ten points going into the break. His performance gave Indiana a 15-8 run to close the first session. At that point, Indiana trailed by three as they went into the locker room. He would finish the game with 27 points, 16 rebounds, and two blocks.
The only knock on Jackson-Davis’s performance this evening was his free throw percentage from the line. He finished 5-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Indiana’s backcourt managed to handle Minnesota’s second and third most dangerous players Marcus Carr and Gabe Kalscheur. Al Durham and Armaan Franklin were able to draw back-to-back fouls on Carr at the seven-minute mark. That took out Carr for the remainder of the half.
Even during the second half, Carr struggled to get anything going against Indiana’s suffocating backcourt. With Minnesota’s bigs unable to cut as quickly to the basket as Michigan’s bigs, the Hoosiers did a much better job eliminating the outlet pass on their hedges.
The rest of Minnesota’s backcourt struggled from three-point land — a feeling that the Indiana Hoosiers know so well from earlier this season. Kalscheur, a career 37% three-point shooter, missed eight of his nine attempts. Although they have one of the best big men in the conference, Minnesota continued to take opportunities from deep. The Gophers grabbed some of their own long rebounds, but could not connect on a second or even third attempt from behind the arc.
Minnesota finished 4 of 25 from downtown, which works out to be a measly 16.0%.
A better-playing Hoosiers team limited Minnesota to just 0.836 points per possession, which was too much for Richard Pitino’s deflated Gophers to overcome. Indiana earns a hard-fought road win and now looks to a top ten match up this weekend.
Number of the Night: 10 rebounds from Race Thompson
In his return to his hometown, Minnesota native Race Thompson continues to best his own streak of performances. He set a career-high in rebounds with 10. All evening, Thompson played for the hustle plays and 50-50 balls that are so critical in improving the team.
Even though Jackson-Davis had the most impressive stat line, Thompson finished the game with the highest individual plus/minus once again. For reference, Thompson recorded nine points, one short of his career-high in that area.
Source: Minnesota Athletics
Next Up: No. 9 Penn State
On Sunday, February 23, the Hoosiers will take on one of the hottest teams in the country as they get another chance at the Penn State Nittany Lions, who currently rank in the top ten of the AP poll. Indiana had one of their worst performances earlier this season when the team traveled to State College. That game will be a noon tipoff on FS1.
Tickets and the full schedule can be found on our Indiana Basketball schedule page.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ