EVANSTON, Ill. — In as much of a pro-Hoosier environment one could imagine, Indiana took on Northwestern in Evanston on Wednesday night in a battle of two top-40 defenses. Despite one of the worst first-half performances in recent memory, the Hoosiers clawed back from a 21-point deficit to turn an uncompetitive game into a battle down to the final shot.
The Wildcats picked up their second consecutive home win against a ranked opponent from the state of Indiana, taking down the Hoosiers with that final score.
After an Indiana steal off of an inbound’s play to tie the game at 62, Northwestern guard Boo Buie scored a clutch layup in the final seconds of the game to put Northwestern up 64-62.
Indiana was led by a 23 point performance from Trayce Jackson-Davis, earning his 46th double-double of his career. He also distributed eight assists in the contest. Race Thompson and Jalen Hood-Schifino each added another 13 points. Thompson was a game-time decision after missing the Michigan game. He played 25 minutes on Wednesday night.
Notably in common, both teams have home wins against top ranked Purdue. Northwestern dodged any “hangover” effects after their Sunday victory against the #1 Boilermakers. Senior guard Chase Audige lifted the Wildcat offense with an early 3-of-3 from behind the arc against the Hoosiers. He missed 26-of-34 in his previous five games.
One key moment in the game came at the 9-minute mark in the first half. The Hoosiers received a double technical, one on the Indiana bench immediately followed by one on head coach Mike Woodson. That would give Northwestern guard Boo Buie four free attempts at the line. He drained the four ensuing free throws.
Audige and Buie finished the first half with 11 points each.
First the first time in a long stretch of games, the Hoosiers were unable to find any opportunities offensively. Credit to the Wildcats for game planning well against All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis. By the 7 minute mark of the first half, the Hoosiers only had 13 points, scoring less than a point a minute. Jackson-Davis only having three of those 13 points.
Everything went well for the home team. An 18-2 run in favor of the Wildcats spanning over seven minutes of the first period gave Northwestern a 13-point lead against the Hoosiers.
Northwestern went into the locker rooms at the break with a 19 point lead against the Hoosiers, 39-20.
Indiana finally gave the well traveled fans something to cheer for in the second half. Coming out with substantially more energy, the Hoosiers found the bottom of the rim on a three point attempt from Trey Galloway, then former Northwestern forward Miller Kopp. For reference, the Hoosiers were scoreless from behind the arc on five attempts in the first half.
Storylines flipped. The once 21 point lead for the Wildcats dissipated quickly into a much more manageable single digit game, created largely by opportunities from Indiana’s extra passes into the paint, a number of open threes, and some extra assistance from those wearing red in the building.
Hoosiers host KenPom No. 25 Illinois this Saturday, February 18 for their second match up in the season. Indiana won the previous game at the State Farm Center 80-65 and they are projected to win this weekend by KenPom. You can catch the noon ET showdown on ESPN.
Featured Image: Northwestern Basketball