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Trey Galloway steals the show in Indiana’s season-opening win

It can be tough to gain much perspective in a season-opening game against a low-major opponent.

In a number of ways, Indiana’s 89-59 win over Tennessee Tech on Wednesday night in Bloomington looked similar to what expectations of the game might include.

BLOOMINGTON, IN – NOVEMBER 25, 2020 – forward Trayce Jackson-Davis #23 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the game between the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles and the Indiana Hoosiers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN. (Missy Minear/Indiana Athletics)

Despite a fan-less Assembly Hall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a pretty routine first game for the Hoosiers.

Indiana easily took care of a team well below its talent level, Trayce Jackson-Davis dominated with 26 points and 11 rebounds for his 12th career double-double, and Rob Phinisee and Al Durham were also key offensive contributors with 12 and nine points, respectively.

What may have come as a surprise, though, was the impact of freshman wing Trey Galloway. He was the second-leading scorer for the game with 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field.

The performance earned high praise from Indiana’s best player.

“Overall, I thought (Galloway) played really well, especially for his first game,” Jackson-Davis said of his young teammate.

There was a lot of speculation in the offseason about how much Indiana’s freshmen would play and their varying degrees of performance, but Galloway dispelled what the consensus might’ve been.

Despite being the lowest-rated recruit among IU’s four-player freshmen class, Galloway was the first of the four freshmen to enter the game, checking in at the 15:52 mark of the first half, while also receiving the most playing time of the newcomers with 19 minutes.

Galloway seamlessly fit in with the starters and the second unit, providing physical and disciplined defense while also running the floor and finishing around the rim excellently.

All 13 of Galloway’s points came off of finishing layups and dunks in transition and at the free-throw line.

“He’s a really good finisher… especially when it’s one-on-one,” Jackson-Davis said of Galloway in the fast break. “He has really good body control.”

Part of why Galloway played, and had an impact, as much as he did can be attributed the stylistic shift of Indiana’s new-look offense. In just one game, it was evident that the Hoosiers’ pace was much quicker and there was a steady emphasis on getting up and down the floor fast.

Indiana head coach Archie Miller said that taking advantage of fast-break opportunities would be unique to this team and something he didn’t have in his previous three years in Bloomington.

“I think this can be one of our best transition teams,” Miller said. “Your frontcourt can all run, and your perimeter guys are all interchangeable in terms of being able to get wide and push the ball.”

The newly-emphasized effort of running in transition resulted in 19 fast-break points for Indiana against Tennessee Tech. Nine of the points were off the Golden Eagles’ 20 turnovers.

For both the new successes of the team playing in transition and Galloway being an integral part of the rotation to continue, it’ll require consistent efficiency of the basics – defense and rebounding.

Miller noted that strong defense and effort on the boards is what fueled Wednesday’s display of faster pace, ball movement and easy opportunities at the rim in transition.

“If we can rebound the ball and our defense is good, I think we’re quicker and we can create some more turnovers,” Miller said.

Any easy scoring opportunities for Indiana will be needed next week as the Hoosiers’ time for tuning up in a low-major setting is now over.

The Hoosiers enter the fire of a difficult non-conference schedule as they play three games next week in the Maui Invitational. The event is being held in Asheville, North Carolina, this year, though, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indiana opens tournament play Monday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET against Providence.

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