LINCOLN, Neb. — The Indiana Hoosiers defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers and earn their first true road victory of the season by a final score of 82-74. Archie Miller’s team moves to 14-4 on the season and 4-3 in the Big Ten. Fred Hoiberg’s Huskers fall to 7-11 and 2-5 in the conference.
Indiana’s 82 points represent their highest offensive total since the last time the two teams met in Bloomington. Their efficient floor performance at over 50% field goal percentage was the best since early December when Indiana defeated Florida State at home.
Battling inclement winter weather, the Indiana basketball team finally arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska after flight delays that prevented them from arriving a day early. Instead, they landed in Lincoln just a few hours before their tip-off this evening. Indiana sought after a coveted road victory at Pinnacle Bank Arena, a place where Iowa and Purdue faltered on their visits.
In terms of road games, the Big Ten has been brutal to the traveling teams. Up until tip-off, there were only six games this season where the road team came out victorious.
Entering today’s contest, discussions around Indiana’s ability to shoot it from the distance floated around social media and news sites, largely due to Indiana’s complete lack of success from behind the arc against Rutgers. On Wednesday night, Indiana only hit their first three-point shot with five minutes remaining in the second half.
The solution? Keep shooting threes.
By no means did Archie Miller want to contain the number of attempts. After a Trayce Jackson-Davis feed to Joey Brunk for the first bucket of the game, the Indiana backcourt took control of the majority of the scoring until five minutes left of the first half. Jackson-Davis and Brunk only took five field goal attempts combined in the first half. Beyond that, the game was mostly played in the backcourt against a sped-up Hoiberg offense.
Among the shots taken the first half, 16 of 34 total field goals were from distance for the Hoosiers. As if Coach Miller wanted to disapprove all of the chatter regarding this team’s shooting ability, the three-point game was put into fifth gear. It wasn’t that Indiana took inopportune shots. In fact, most of their shots from three-point territory were quite open.
Indiana deviated from their strategy that made them successful in first half of the season. The attack did not come from an oversized frontcourt and foul line, but instead it came from Indiana’s shooting from all over the floor. The Hoosiers moved the ball around the perimeter and avoided Nebraska’s traps in the paint, which ultimately created open looks from deep.
Nebraska hung in with the Hoosiers the entire first half. Shortly after Indiana began finding their momentum in the first half, the Huskers went on an 11-0 run early to take their largest lead of the first half at 9 points. There were not necessarily any surprising coming out of the Huskers as they played to their fairly well-known style: fast pace, quick guard penetration, and plenty three-point shooting. The result was a 46-41 lead for Indiana going into intermission.
Out of the locker room, Indiana’s impressive shooting display extended into the second half with an early 12-2 run. A pair of Brunk elbow jumpers and a pair of three-point shots helped Indiana reach a 19-point lead, which was the highest of the game up until that point. Indiana opened the second half shooting with 88% accuracy to Nebraska’s 14%.
The three point shooting tamed down a bit in the second segment. Indiana’s controlled transition game was not easy for an undersized Nebraska team to defend. With 6-foot-10 players Brunk and Jackson-Davis attacking the center of the lane with momentum, the Huskers had no choice but to move out of the way or to foul.
Once Nebraska got a few buckets, Indiana fans started to sense an Indiana scoring drought on the way. And that’s exactly what happened. Nebraska responded with a 10-2 run of their own and cut Indiana’s lead all the way down to single digits. The Huskers’ ability to finish strong fast break points from their guards and a several missed Indiana offensive opportunities shifted the momentum back to the home team. The score was 70-62 as both teams entered the under-eight timeout.
At the end of the day, the Indiana bigs closed out the game as the most reliable source of the offense. Whilet the shooting was fun for the Hoosiers while it lasted, it was the trio of Jackson-Davis, Brunk, and Justin Smith that finished the game for Indiana.
Jackson-Davis tallied 18 points and 13 boards, Brunk added 16 points and 5 rebounds, and Smith rounded out the frontcourt with 15 points and grabbed 7 off of the glass.
Despite their effort and relentless attack until the very final whistle, Nebraska’s Cam Mack, Haanif Cheatham, Dachon Burke,and Throrir Thorbjarnarson could not overcome Indiana’s sustained offense, especially when the Hoosiers are able to spread the floor. They combined for a total of 55 points of Nebraska’s offense.
Number of the Night: +18 rebound margin
During Indiana’s first pairing with the Huskers, the Hoosiers out-rebounded Nebraska by a margin of 31 to 54. Archie Miller’s team ranks as one of the best in the conference in rebounding, and the opposite is true for Fred Hoiberg’s ball club.
Tonight, Indiana absolutely dominated the glass. Jackson-Davis led the team with 13 rebounds on the evening, which gave him his sixth double-double of the season. As a team, Indiana collected 48 rebounds to Nebraska’s 30.
Source: Nebraska Athletics
Next Up: Michigan State
Indiana will get to return home after a tough week of travel going from the eastern side of the Big Ten to the far west. The Hoosiers host No. 15 Michigan State on Thursday evening at 8:30 p.m. ET. On the season, Archie Miller is currently 2-0 at home against ranked opponents. That game will be available on Fox Sports 1.
Tom Izzo’s Spartans currently lead the conference with a 6-1 record in the Big Ten and a 14-4 record overall. Michigan State is coming off of a home victory against Wisconsin.
The full schedule can be found on the Indiana Basketball schedule page.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ