BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana ends their four-game losing streak with a 89-77 home win against No. 21 Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hoosiers showed cleaned up play and improved shooting largely due to Devonte Green’s 7 of 11 performance from behind the arc. Despite a 38-point evening from Iowa star Luka Garza, the Hawkeyes were unable to overcome Indiana’s rebound margin and 22 points from the charity stripe.
Indiana moves to 16-8 on the season and earn just their sixth win in the Big Ten. Iowa will take a 17-8 record back on the road as they face Minnesota on Sunday.
The magnitude of tonight’s game was amplified with Indiana’s four losses coming into Thursday. Losing this game could push Indiana on the wrong side of the bubble with an uphill battle to climb.
Winning would give the Hoosiers critical breathing room as return back on the road.
Out of the gates, the Hoosiers flipped a switch on their sluggish offense that has struggled to find the bottom of the net since the heartbreaking one-point loss at home against Maryland.
With his brother Danny Green watching in the stands, Devonte Green opened the first half by making five three pointers from the left corner. On another attempt, he was fouled and made all three free throws which totaled his 18 points in the first half alone.
We have seen what just a little bit of confidence can do for the senior guard. Catching fire early in the game helped Indiana sustain a double digit lead for the majority of the first half.
Devonte Green had a 27-point performance for the evening, which included seven three point makes, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. His performance enabled the Hoosiers to reach a season high 11 three point attempts.
It was Green’s best individual performance since Indiana took down Florida State at home in early December.
Indiana freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis played as well as you could have asked for from a first-year player. Although he did not find buckets using his behind the back moves that he has shown all season, Jackson-Davis effectively ran the fast break and found open creases to slice into the paint. He had nine points and made half of his six free throws in the first half.
But most importantly, Jackson-Davis took on the assignment of guarding Wooden Award-finalist and Big Ten’s leading scorer Luka Garza, who tallied his tenth consecutive game with 20 points or higher. All evening, Jackson-Davis fronted Garza to force him outside of the paint and shoot in the mid-range or from distance.
Garza converted his shots, but at locations that the Indiana staff could not be upset about. Jackson-Davis was largely responsible for denying the interior looks for Garza. Iowa’s main player finished the game with another blowout stat-line of 38 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 turnovers.
Race Thompson and Justin Smith had similar performances in the sense that they had tremendous positive impact on the game outside of the points category.
Thompson played the Swiss army knife role. He had the most impact in the first half where he seemed to be in the right places at all of the right times. He finished the game with 2 blocks, 4 steals, 4 rebounds, and career-high 10 points. Thompson ended the evening with the best plus-minus rating for the Hoosiers.
Smith defended Iowa’s second go-to player all evening, which ended up being Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp. More importantly, he played very well in shifting to cover on pick and rolls. Behind Jackson-Davis, Smith led the Hoosiers in rebounds (7) despite only finishing with six points.
Rebounds would end up being the biggest difference maker for the Hoosiers as both teams shot relatively well from the floor. The Hoosiers grabbed a total of 38 rebounds on the floor, which was a double-digit positive margin compared to Iowa’s 28 boards.
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Number of the Night: 32 free throw attempts
Indiana’s hold of the top free throw shooting team has been challenged as of late. In fact, Indiana dropped to 12th in the nation, after spending a significant amount of time as one of the top three teams in the nation according to KenPom.
Tonight, the undermanned Hawkeyes resorted to fouling in order to defend the deeper Hoosiers. Indiana was able to take advantage of the skill differential by repeatedly finding the paint and attacking the rim at all costs. Indiana converted 22 of 32 free throws, good for 68.8%.
Source: Indiana Athletics
Next Up: @ Michigan
After two games at home, the Hoosiers get back on the road for a game against an improving Michigan Wolverines team. This will be the one and only time the Hoosiers face the Wolverines this regular season. After a four game losing streak of their own, the Wolverines have won four of their last five. That game will take place Sunday, February 16 at 1:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the nationally televised broadcast on CBS.
The full schedule can be found on the Indiana Basketball schedule page.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ