INDIANAPOLIS — Shooting only 14 percent from the 3-point line on the season before Saturday, Indiana freshman guard Armaan Franklin was not expected to be much of a threat from deep.
He buried that narrative and his 4-for-27 season slump from deep to the ground Saturday with four threes, including the game winning one with 15 seconds to go to give now 11-1 Indiana the 62-60 win over Notre Dame at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.
“He (Franklin) can shoot it,” Indiana head coach Archie Miller said. “He just gotten off to a tough start. He hasn’t let it impact his attitude, and he hasn’t let it impact his coachability.”
Along with the career high four 3-pointers, Franklin set a new career high of 17 points on 5-for-6 shooting to lead the team. It was a breakout game for the freshman guard on the big stage, in his hometown too.
The Indianapolis native made the most of his chances when his name was called. He got subbed in for the first time in the game after the under-eight media timeout in the first half where he had nine points off of two 3-pointers and three made free throws by the under-four media timeout.
After Indiana squandered what was a 17-point lead and total collapsed in the second half, Franklin stepped up for the team when he entered the game with about four minutes to go and the Hoosiers trailing 59-54.
Franklin, who had not been playing much in crunch time all year, proved his worth down the stretch. The freshman hit a three at the top of the key to cut Notre Dame’s lead down to two with 2:49 left, took a crucial charge on defense and then not too long after hit the game winner.
As great as Franklin was, the other two scholarship newcomers to Indiana’s roster this season, as well as Indianapolis area kids, Joey Brunk and Trayce Jackson-Davis were monumental for the Hoosiers. All three of them were evidently comfortable playing in the professional arena that they grew up so close to.
Back home again.
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) December 21, 2019
“You’ve always got to love playing at home,” Franklin said. “Even though we’re not that far from home, it was still good to play in home court.”
Jackson-Davis had a quietly efficient day shooting the rock, going 7-for-9 from the field while to total 14 points. He had the game-tying dunk with a minute to go as well.
Brunk, who scored eight points against Indiana a year ago in this event when he played for Butler, exceeded his performance from 2018. The junior center bodied his way to nine points and 14 rebounds. Eleven of the boards came in the first half alone.
“Joey was terrific on the glass all game, especially in the first half and second half. He gave us second-chance opportunities,” Miller said. “We’ve said it all along how this team has to be successful, obviously drawing fouls and being able to win the battle on the glass.”
The duo of big men held their own on the inside on both ends of the floor. The two were the Hoosiers’ leading rebounders and helped Indiana win the rebounding battle by 10 over the Irish. Additionally, the interior defense was stellar, limiting Notre Dame’s inside looks and forcing the Irish to shoot a measly 37.5 percent for the game.
Playing in a dramatic, close game is practically a trademark of the Hoosiers being in the Crossroads Classic and having an in-state guard play hero is becoming part of the trend too.
A year ago, against Butler, freshman point guard Rob Phinisee hit the buzzer beater three to give Indiana the win. A year later, Franklin made the clutch shot for the Hoosiers.
In general, the Indiana kids have always found their touch in the Crossroads Classic and the story proved true once again Saturday with Brunk, Jackson-Davis and particularly the heroics of Franklin.