LAWRENCE, Kan. — For the first time this season, No. 14 Indiana is on a losing streak. The Hoosiers fell 84-62 on the road to No. 8 Kansas to move to 8-3 on the year.
Indiana’s offense was pitiful from the start in Saturday’s matchup. The Jayhawks began the game ahead 12-2 and never looked back. This mirrored IU’s start last Saturday against Arizona, when the Hoosiers trailed 27-8 at one point in that contest.
“We came out flat,” Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis said postgame. “I think some of the looks on our faces weren't necessarily scared, but we weren’t ready.”
“[Kansas] came to compete, and we didn’t,” Indiana head coach Mike Woodson said. “We did not show up tonight, and that bothers me a little bit.”
The Hoosiers committed 23 turnovers on Saturday. Those miscues directly led to 28 Kansas points and helped Kansas score 22 fastbreak points.
“You can’t turn the ball over. Twenty-three times against a good team, that’s 23 times you don’t get an opportunity to score the ball,” Woodson said.
Jackson-Davis, a preseason All-American, scored 13 points and was 4-for-8 from the field against Kansas. Jackson-Davis did not score until there was 1:29 left in the first half. Teams have double-teamed Indiana’s star and it’s led to low-scoring performances.
“If I’m coaching against this team, I’m going to double him too,” Woodson said. “Guys around him have just got to step up and be able to make shots and make plays.”
“Obviously, the cheat sheet is out with me. Every team from here on out is going to double and triple-team me, and so we just got to find ways to counteract that,” Jackson-Davis said. “I’m still a big focal point on offense, but if they want to sag off and have attention on me, we just got to knock down shots.”
Saturday marked the fourth consecutive game that Jackson-Davis was held below 15 points. The Hoosiers are 1-3 in that period.
The struggles of Jackson-Davis have contributed to Indiana’s overall lack of inside scoring. Against Arizona last Saturday, IU went 19-for-44 (43.2%) on 2-point shots. The Hoosiers shot 14-for-34 (41.2%) on 2s against Kansas. Kansas outscored Indiana 50-24 in the paint.
Indiana has now lost three of its past four games, with all three losses being away from Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are now 1-2 on the road after being 3-8 in away games last season.
“We can win at home but you’ve got to figure out how to win on the road if you want to be a good team,” Woodson said.
“We got to be more ready to play honestly,” Jackson-Davis said. “Especially at a hostile environment like this against a great team like Kansas because if they jump on you early, that crowd’s going to carry that momentum throughout the game.”
IU’s starting point guard Xavier Johnson suffered a foot injury with 9:12 remaining in the first half. Johnson got tangled up with Kansas guard Dajuan Harris after a steal and could not put any pressure on his right foot.
Johnson did not return to the game and sat on Indiana’s bench with a boot on his foot and carrying crutches. Woodson had no update on Johnson’s injury after the game.
The Hoosiers may be without Johnson for the foreseeable future. Indiana returns home to face Elon on Tuesday and Kennesaw State on Friday. Those will be IU’s last non-conference games, as the Hoosiers will have 13 days between games before going on the road against Iowa and continuing Big Ten play for the remainder of the regular season.
“We’ve just got to regroup,” Woodson said. “We’ve got two games coming up that we’ve got to prepare for before we start into the Big Ten.”
For now, IU has dropped three of four following a 7-0 start. The 14th-ranked Hoosiers are in danger of falling out of the AP poll for the first time this season. In the coming weeks, Indiana must regain its mojo and show why it was Big Ten favorites heading into the season.