BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — With just two remaining regular season opportunities to showcase their worth, the Hoosiers take down the Minnesota Golden Gophers 72-67. Indiana’s frontcourt starred in the victory with a total of 52 points in the paint. The Hoosiers moved to 19-11 on the season and a shot at reaching 0.500 in the Big Ten with a victory on Saturday.
Minnesota fell to 13-16 overall on the season with their third consecutive loss.
Richard Pitino went to his main workhorse Daniel Oturu to create another rematch of the big-on-big action that we saw Minneapolis last month. Oturu powered his way against Indiana’s Joey Brunk and Race Thompson. Oturu led all scorers with ten points, and he was just shy of reaching double-double territory with eight boards to finish the first period. Oturu had no problem getting his additional rebounds very early in the second segment.
He led all players with another beastly stat line of 24 points and 16 rebounds for Pitino’s crew.
One of the leading freshmen of the year candidates wearing a cream jersey had another one of his staple games even though he had missed a couple of practices leading up to tonight’s contest with a leg sprain. Archie Miller went to Jackson-Davis early and often. Jackson-Davis finished the game with 18 points and 9 rebounds off his signature post moves, footwork, and bounce under the rim.
Brunk offered big contributions this evening as well. After a series of tough games for Joey Brunk where he saw his minutes dwindle in favor of Thompson, he stuck to the plan and continued to tone his craft under Archie Miller. Brunk took full advantage of his 28 minutes that he earned by hustling and posting against a smaller Gopher team. In those extended minutes, he was able to record 12 points and 8 rebounds; however, his most important responsibility was to cover Oturu all afternoon.
Justin Smith has been a player that often does not get recognized since he contributes to the game in other ways other than scoring. Smith’s defensively versatility this afternoon allowed Archie Miller to keep size on the floor, which supported their help-defense plans against Oturu. Smith was aggressive in passing lanes and he was especially notable in his ability to guard both the wings and bigs on the opposite team. Smith finished with 10 points, two rebounds and two steals. He led all players with an individual plus/minus of 17.
Three-point shooting was an area that largely struggled for the Gophers in the first half, except for the help of Isaiah Ihnen. The 6-foot-9 freshman wing was a perfect three of three from behind the arc in the first half. Without his performance, the Gophers would have been just one of five before the intermission. Minnesota guard Peyton Willis hit the only other shot from deep, which was a lucky bank shot that managed to remain true.
In the second half, the Gophers built up their confidence and remained competitive with consistent three-point shooting. Pitino’s ball club finished 7-of-16 from distance, where as the Hoosiers only landed 3-of-15.
Guard Gabe Kalscheur had another rough afternoon from distance. In both tonight’s match and the previous match in Minneapolis, Kalscheur had cold shooting from three-point range. He finished 1-of-6 attempts this afternoon, despite his relatively high three-point percentage from the season.
Although the final score was close, Indiana led for the majority of the evening. Minnesota’s streaked closed out the Indiana lead on several occasions, including halftime where Minnesota took the lead entering the locker rooms. Ultimately, Indiana weathered the storm and responded with an effective offensive symphony. The Hoosiers sustained their home court advantage and walked away victorious with a final score of 72-67.
Number of the Night: 52 points in the paint for Indiana
With two impressive individual performances from Indiana’s bigs Jackson-Davis and Brunk, the Hoosiers were fed all evening long in the paint. Archie Miller’s team finished with an impressive 52 points in the paint, which properly summarized the game in a nutshell.
Minnesota equally had opportunities in the paint, scoring 38 of their 67 points in the paint as well; however, without a secondary presence, the Hoosiers were the more dominant team inside.
Source: Indiana Athletics
Next Up: Wisconsin
For the final regular season game of the 2019-2020 season, the Hoosiers will take on Wisconsin for senior night to send off Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis — two four-year players with the Indiana University basketball program. Indiana takes on the Badgers on Saturday, March 7 at noon on ESPN. Wisconsin is currently on a tear in the Big Ten with a six-game winning streak entering their game today against Northwestern. That streak includes road wins at Nebraska and Michigan.
Tickets and the full schedule can be found on our Indiana Basketball schedule page.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ