Call it the Tamar Bates game.
Bates scored in double digits in each half, totaling a career-high 22 points, four threes, and four assists in Indiana’s (6-0) 90-51 win over Jackson State (0-5). The Hoosiers now look ahead to their contest with potential No. 1 UNC on Wednesday in Assembly Hall.
Not even two full days after their victory over Little Rock on Thursday night, Mike Woodson started his normal five of Xavier Johnson, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Before the game, Jackson-Davis dressed and warmed up after his one-game absence. Meanwhile, Trey Galloway and Anthony Leal remained unavailable.
Once again, Indiana started imperfectly against a team near the bottom of the KenPom ratings. Jackson State, who came into the game ranked No. 303 per KenPom, held Indiana to a stalemate through the first media timeout.
Thompson, once again sporting a headband after the cut to the face that he suffered on Wednesday, was the most effective Hoosier in the early going. However, Woodson called on his reserves, as well as Xavier Johnson, to push IU on its first run of the game.
Johnson, who entered the game with four made threes on four attempts this season, used JSU’s 2-3 zone to his benefit. Johnson nailed consecutive triples to push IU’s lead to seven, and when we wasn’t scoring, Malik Reneau, Jordan Geronimo, and Tamar Bates created plenty of breathing room.
IU’s second unit quickly turned a 9-9 tie into a 20+ point margin. Bates led Indiana with 12 first-half points, including a three just before the first-half buzzer. Seven Hoosiers scored in the first half.
After the break, the Hoosiers continued to separate from the Tigers, bumping up a 16-point lead to 26. IU’s starters were far more effective in their shift to start the second half compared to the first. Jackson-Davis threw down a dunk, Kopp drilled a corner three, Johnson nailed a triple of his own, and Hood-Schifino made two free throws.
Bates came in and maintained, if not built on, his level of excellence from the first half. With Galloway unavailable, Bates was a menace on both ends of the court. Offensively, not only did he make shots inside and out, but he also recorded a career-high four assists.
Bates played his best game in an Indiana uniform, regardless of the quality of the opponent. In addition to the four dimes, he made eight of 11 shots, including four of six threes.
Jackson State never threatened Indiana again. The Tigers shot 29.6% after halftime and committed 10 turnovers in the second half alone.
In the closing stages of the contest, Logan Duncomb and CJ Gunn scored baskets, ensuring that every available scholarship player scored today for the Hoosiers.
IU’s next regular season game is Wednesday vs. North Carolina, back in Assembly Hall. UNC is currently ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25. IU’s last win over a top-ranked team in the country came Feb. 2, 2013, vs. Michigan. Tip vs. UNC is scheduled for 9:15p ET on ESPN.
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