The Indiana Hoosiers (12-3, 3-2 B1G) welcomed the Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-3, 1-3 B1G) to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Sunday. Minnesota was undefeated on the road coming into the contest while IU had yet to be beaten at home. Something had to give. The Hoosiers jumped over .500 with an impressive 73-60 victory over Minnesota and remained unbeaten at home.
Once again, head coach Mike Woodson rolled with the same starting five that he has for most of the season. Xavier Johnson, Parker Stewart, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis got things going for the Hoosiers against Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers got things going early on the offensive end. Getting to the rim was a point of emphasis, but many of the shots they made early were difficult looks due to Indiana’s defensive intensity.
For Indiana, senior point guard Xavier Johnson scored IU’s first five points. This served as a sign of things to come for the Cream and Crimson’s point guard play in the first half.
With 15:51 remaining the in first half the Hoosiers trailed 9-7.
The Hoosiers found success from behind the arc as they shot 7-for-15 (47 percent) from long distance in the first half. A formula for success was finding All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis in the post and allowing him to find the open player on the wing.
With 10:36 remaining in the first half Jackson-Davis got his first field goal to fall and tied the game up at 19. The Indiana native had just four points in the first half.
The big story of the first half was senior point guard Rob Phinisee. The Hoosiers made seven first half threes and Phinisee had four of them, tying a career high. The Lafayette native scored a season-high 12 points in the first half.
“I’m not telling him not to shoot,” Woodson said after the game. “Minnesota forced our hand in terms of shooting threes. When teams do that, our perimeter guys have to step up and make shots.”
Mike Woodson and the Hoosiers ended the first half on a 17-4 run to take a double-digit lead into the break as they lead 39-29.
Both teams would have wanted to start the second half better on the offensive end as both teams were 1 for their first four from the field.
Things quickly got chippy between the two teams as Race Thompson had to be separated from Minnesota guard Jamison Battle. Thompson was born and raised just a few miles from the Minnesota campus and was recruited hard by the Golden Gophers. Thompson even said it feels like a personal rivalry every time he plays his hometown team.
With 13 minutes, what was once a double-digit lead was cut to just a one-point contest. Minnesota would go on to take the 47-46 lead on their next possession, their first lead since 25-24.
Trey Galloway was once again a giant spark plug off the bench. Getting steals, blocking shots, and finishing at the rim to help Indiana retake the lead.
IU pushed the lead back to double-digits thanks to suffocating defense. Minnesota went on a scoring drought of over six minutes late in the second half.
“If you hold teams to 60 and under, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win a lot games,” Woodson said. The Hoosiers have held their opponent to 64 or below every game since the wild double OT defeat at Syracuse on November 30.
Jackson-Davis (13), Race Thompson (10), Xavier Johnson (14), Parker Stewart (12), and Rob Phinisee (13) all scored in double figures for the Cream and Crimson. Interestingly, this was the first time IU had five with 10+ points since February 17, when the Hoosiers beat — you guessed it– Minnesota.
Indiana closed out the game and secured the 13-point victory over the Golden Gophers to remain unbeaten at home. The Hoosiers were led by Johnson with 14 points and five assists while Jackson-Davis grabbed 12 rebounds and secured his 28th career double-double.
Up next for the Hoosiers is a road contest against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday Jan. 13. Indiana is still looking for their first road win of the season. Their last one came Jan. 21 at Iowa.
Photo by Indiana Athletics