In their final game before Thanksgiving, Indiana (5-0) welcomed Jackson State (0-5) to Assembly Hall and served them up a 35-point defeat. IU was led by Xavier Johnson with 14 points, seven rebounds and, of course, by their defense. They held Jackson State to just 21 percent from the field. Indiana picked up their fifth win of the season, 70-35.
It was the same starting five that we have seen in their first four games as Xavier Johnson, Parker Stewart, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis got things going for the Cream and Crimson.
From the start, Indiana ramped up the pressure on the defensive side of the ball. IU was only able to score 13 points off the 11 turnovers that were forced but that did not matter when looking at JSU shooting percentage.
Jackson State shot just 19 percent in the first half, or 5-26 from the field.
Johnson got things going to IU early in the first half. Attacking the rim, finding the holes in the defense, and getting to the foul line regularly. Johnson and Kopp led the Hoosiers at half with eight points each heading to the break.
IU led at halftime 34-17.
Remember that stellar defense we were talking about? Well, it showed up in the second half as well. JSU did not score their first points of the second half until there was under 14 minutes remaining in the game.
When asked about what gets the defense going Miller Kopp said, “Coaches are always on us about talking. In walkthroughs, stretching, whatever it is. If we’re doing anything, we need to be talking. Overtalking, pretty much.”
IU also cleaned up their turnovers in the second half. After giving up the ball eight times in the first half, the Cream and Crimson only turned the ball over three times in the second half.
What may have been the most impressive part of this game for the Hoosiers was the ability to not let up when the second unit came in the game. Head coach Mike Woodson has said all year long that when he calls your name you better be ready to play, and they were tonight.
While IU held JSU to 21% from the field, they themselves shot particularly well. Indiana shot 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc. Where IU continues to struggle shooting the ball is the foul line and Coach Woodson touched on that in the press conference.
“We’re a better free-throw shooting team than we’re showing right now, said Woodson. “I don’t like that category at all.”
Up next for the Hoosiers is another home game. This time, against Marshall, on Nov. 27 at 7:00 PM EST. This will be the final home game before IU travels to Syracuse to battle in the Big Ten/ACC challenge.