BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It’s time for the real thing.
Behind a 19-point, nine-rebound effort from preseason All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana defeated St. Francis 104-59 at Assembly Hall. Five Hoosiers scored in double figures.
IU and St. Francis shared a key connection through Hoosier basketball legend Damon Bailey. He is ranked 8th all-time in points in program history with 1,741. His son Brayton Bailey started for the opposing Cougars, and dad was in the crowd for the action.
The Hoosiers (and fans) welcomed TJD back into the lineup with a roaring ovation and a quick alley-oop to start his season from true freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino off the tip.
Xavier Johnson bounced back from his last start by driving into the lane for a quick jam and a layup to give the Hoosiers an early lead. Then, Hood-Schifino quickly took the reins scoring seven of the team’s first 18 points.
The second rotation saw CJ Gunn, Jordan Geronimo, Trey Galloway, Malik Reneau, and the return of sophomore Tamar Bates. “RENEAU FOR TWO” remained the true freshman’s catchphrase as he sparked an 18-5 Hoosier run, scoring seven points in five minutes.
Galloway led the offense when Johnson and Hood-Schifino were on the bench, stepping into a second-rotation leadership role for the Hoosiers. The bench scored 18 of the team’s first-half 53 points.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, Woodson substituted Race Thompson and Jackson-Davis back into the game. The tag team made an immediate impact. Thompson’s athletic two-hand swat set up a Bates layup, and Jackson-Davis grabbed a defensive rebound to work down the court for a monster slam.
IU led at the half 53-24. Jackson-Davis and Hood-Schifino led the team in scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Indiana’s rim protection stood out as well, rejecting nine shots to the Cougars’ 0. The Hoosiers ended up with a 12-0 advantage in that department.
Despite Indiana’s successes, St. Francis had nine offensive rebounds compared to the Hoosiers’ four. IU also struggled to effectively shoot free throws, making 5-of-9 (56%) in the first half, and just 11-of-18 (61%) for the game.
Hood-Schifino drained all three three-pointers on the night. He also dished a team-high five assists in the game, including another alley-oop to veteran Jackson-Davis.
Gunn contributed in more than one way making himself a presence felt by the Cougars’ offense and a threat to their defense. Gunn finished with nine points in 15 minutes, and proved his hustle by laying out for a loose ball midway through the second half.
Geronimo was a crowd favorite in the second with three big dunks, one of which a result of Reneau pinning a St. Francis shot off the backboard. Geronimo finished with 10 points and eight boards, a clear improvement from his six points and three rebounds against Marian.
In the closing minutes of the game, the Hoosiers pulled out all the tricks with big steals, breakaways, and alley-oops. Each possession was an attempt to one-up the former and the crowd was all for it.
IU extended their healthy halftime lead all the way out a 49-point advantage near the end. Walk-ons Nathan Childress, Michael Shipp, and Shaan Burke all saw playing time down the stretch.
IU’s first regular season game is Monday, Nov. 7, vs. Morehead St on BTN+. IU is 5-0 all-time against the Eagles.
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