Despite a relentless effort from the opposition and never truly being able to separate themselves, the Hoosiers hung on to beat South Dakota State 64-50 at home Sunday afternoon.
The win keeps Indiana’s undefeated record alive at 7-0, and also finishes the early season slate of seven consecutive low-major conference opponents. From here on out, Indiana will finish its regular season with 24 straight high-major opponents, including both non-conference and Big Ten teams.
Indiana will start the difficult stretch at home on Tuesday as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, hosting a talented Florida State team that has won two games against ranked teams already in Florida and Tennessee.
Before looking ahead to IU’s matchup with the Seminoles, let’s take a look at three takeaways from Indiana’s win over South Dakota State.
It was a bit of a lackluster day on the offensive end for Indiana. 64 points is the lowest scoring output from the Hoosiers all season and it isn’t close. Their next lowest total came in the Princeton win, scoring 79 and their only game where they haven’t eclipsed 80.
The team had a 41.4 field goal percentage on the day, but the offense was very concentrated among three players and there wasn’t much scoring contribution otherwise. Justin Smith, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Devonte Green all were in double digits scoring, carrying the load for the team.
Junior guard (and the team’s leading scorer) Al Durham only had five points on a rough shooting night, going 2-for-7 from the field and 1-for-4 from the three-point line. Sophomore forward Damezi Anderson also chipped in five points, but Anderson and Durham accounted for the next leading scorers beyond the three in double digits.
Indiana Head Coach Archie Miller attributed much of the offensive struggle to the lack of ball security.
“If you look at the turnovers, it’s just destroyed our offense,” Miller said. “We really haven’t taken care of the ball very well.”
Indiana recorded 19 turnovers on the night, far more than the Hoosiers’ usual game average of 12.2.
What Indiana lacked in offense was made up for with a stellar defensive effort on South Dakota State’s best player, Douglas Wilson. The junior forward and junior college transfer is the Jackrabbits’ number one option in the offense, but he struggled mightily against Indiana.
Wilson only recorded 17 minutes for the entire game, thanks to some early foul trouble. Wilson racked up two quick fouls early in the game, making him a nonexistent threat in the first half and ended up fouling out in the second.
Wilson only had 6 points and two rebounds for the game, both figures significantly lower than his usual numbers of 17 points and 6 rebounds per contest. He also had three turnovers.
More than just Wilson, holding South Dakota State to only 50 points is indicative of a strong defensive effort as a whole. It’s the fewest points allowed by Indiana all season.
Moreover, other than Jackrabitt junior guard Tray Buchanan who had 15, Indiana didn’t allow anyone on South Dakota State to reach double digits scoring. Baylor Schierman was South Dakota State’s second-leading scorer with seven points.
Despite only allowing 50 points, Coach Miller still wants more out of his defense before Tuesday’s primetime match-up with Florida State.
“There’s not enough shot blocking, there’s not enough hard plays at the basket, but that’s getting ready to really change as we get ready to keep move forward here on, especially on Tuesday with the amount of size, talent, and athleticism that’s going to come our way,” Miller said.
TJD Keeps Rolling
Albeit, the opponents have not been the most difficult and there has been a lack of legitimate post players for him to match up against, but freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis added another monster performance to an already impressive season.
Against the Jackrabbits, Jackson-Davis led the team with 19 points and 14 rebounds to account for his fourth double-double of the season. He also had an impressive, and another team-high, four blocks. His 19 points came on an impressive 9-17 shooting night and of his 14 rebounds, nine of them were offensive, giving Indiana plenty of second chance opportunities on offense.
“He’s a spring off the boards in terms of being able to go get the ball,” Miller said. “He’s getting balls that other guys can’t get. Nine offensive rebounds is something else. But 19 and 14 is obviously a big deal.”
The freshman has arguably been Indiana’s most consistent and best player throughout the season. On the season he is barely short of averaging a double-double, putting up 15.6 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game. He is also converting on a wildly efficient 66.1 percent of his shots.