The road nightmares are (temporarily) over.
Thanks to its imposing forwards, Indiana (13-4, 4-3 B1G) picked up its first win as a visitor this season, knocking off Nebraska (6-13, 0-8 B1G), 78-71. The win snapped an eight-game road drought for IU dating back to last season. The Hoosiers led for 39:12 out of the 40 minutes in the game.
Mike Woodson started off playing his reliable starting lineup of Xavier Johnson, Parker Stewart, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis. IU got off to a good start.
Through Thompson and Jackson-Davis, the Hoosiers scored the first five points of the game. Jackson-Davis had six before the first media timeout, making all three of his attempted shots. Just like that, IU recognized its advantage was inside.
A surprisingly effective three-point shooting performance buoyed the Cornhuskers early. Nebraska came in shooting just shy of 30% from three this season, but they drained their first three triples to start the game. Nebraska also saw the return of junior Trey McGowens, a normal starter who has remained out since November 16.
After an unwatchable performance from the bench on Thursday night, Trey Galloway and Jordan Geronimo did their best to ensure IU would get useful contributions from the reserves. Each player had six points in the first half. Geronimo, especially, was a menace on the glass and his hustle and energy was noticeable from the get-go.
IU did not have Khristian Lander tonight for precautionary reasons (foot); Logan Duncomb and Anthony Leal did not see the floor.
The quantity of whistles tonight, as well as the verbal back-and-forth between the teams, stood out more tonight than in any of IU’s previous games. In the first half, 24 fouls were called between the teams, and five Hoosiers had two personals each. Nebraska’s Bryce McGowens picked up a deadball technical for a forearm to Galloway after a whistle with 6:39 left in the half. Galloway split the pair, and IU led 32-23.
Jackson-Davis was once again exceptional for Indiana tonight, as he controlled the paint on both ends. He went into halftime with a buzzer-beating layup that gave him 14 points, in addition to a game-high six rebounds, going into halftime.
Thompson picked up a knock early in the second half, as Lat Mayen struck him in the face with an elbow going for a rebound. Thompson missed a minute of action and re-entered the contest with IU leading 48-39.
While Thompson was out, Jackson-Davis corralled his 10th rebound of the game, giving him 30 career double-doubles. He also has eight this season and four consecutive.
The game stayed within a six-point window for a long stretch in the second half, before Jackson-Davis injected additional life into the contest. He scored three straight baskets for Indiana, the final one of which was a putback dunk that gave IU a 10-point lead. During that stretch, Jackson-Davis also hit the floor awkwardly going for a loose ball and showed a noticeable limp.
After the last dunk, Jackson-Davis received a technical for yelling in the face of Nebraska forward Eduardo Andre, continuing the theme of contentiousness between the conference opponents. Soon after, Jackson-Davis picked up his fourth foul, and he exited the game with 7:36 to go. Whether it was due to injury or fouls, Jackson-Davis did not return for the rest of the contest.
Geronimo and Thompson served as Indiana’s frontcourt down the stretch, and Johnson stepped up to close out the game for Indiana. IU also leaned on its defense, as Nebraska went over four minutes without a field goal late in the game. Johnson made all of his four free throws in crunch time, sealing the victory.
Jackson-Davis, Geronimo, and Thompson finished with a combined 45 points and 27 rebounds, driving the victory.
Indiana will now return home, starting with a blockbuster rivalry showdown against No. 4 Purdue on Thursday night. The game tips at 7p ET on FS1. IU has lost nine straight to Purdue, and 12 of 13.
Featured Image: Indiana Athletics