What an environment it was at Assembly Hall on Wednesday night, as IU soundly defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-65. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the Hoosiers in scoring with 21 followed up by Xavier Johnson with 20 points. This is Indiana’s first ranked win of the season, adding to a strong resume to start out the season going along with the win at Xavier.
I was impressed with how much of a team win this was against a talented North Carolina team. Surely the defense did what it needed to do, but Indiana also made shots when it needed to whenever it seemed like the Tar Heels were going to mount a comeback. Here are some other things I took away from Wednesday night.
Having Trey Galloway back in the rotation is huge for this team
Wednesday night marked the return of one of IU’s key role players in Galloway. The junior guard is a key playmaker to this team, as he knows how to spread the floor along with being an extremely gifted passer. There were many times where he found Jackson-Davis down low or even Johnson and Jalen Hood-Schifino on the perimeter to get his teammates high-percentage looks.
Galloway’s shot selection and awareness also impressed me. Whether it was a floater from inside the paint, or running out in transition to get an easy basket for the Hoosiers, it’s clear that his basketball IQ is what makes him such a great player. If Indiana wants to have the type of season it wants to have, IU is going to need the Trey Galloway we saw Wednesday night.
Indiana found ways to score even on a cold night from 3
If you told me Indiana would go 3-for-13 from 3-point range against the preseason No. 1 team in the nation with one of the most talented starting fives in the country, I’m not too sure how I would feel about IU’s chances. But the Hoosiers got the high-percentage looks they needed and hit them at the perfect time to secure the win.
Indiana dominated the Tar Heels in the paint, outscoring them 50 to 24. A major part of that was due to the outstanding play of Jackson-Davis, as he continues his phenomenal start to the year with another 20+ pont performance. Even besides Jackson-Davis, backcourt players such as Johnson, Hood-Schifino and Galloway kept getting good looks inside. 23.1% from 3-point range can’t be a regular thing, but it was a good sign that even on these cold nights from the outside, that the Hoosiers can still put up points.
IU’s defense continues to be its calling card
Wednesday night could quite possibly be the most dominant defensive performance we’ve seen in the Mike Woodson era at Indiana. The Hoosiers held North Carolina to 33.9% from the field, the lowest percentage the Tar Heels have shot all season. The gameplan for IU was simple: speed up North Carolina and have them play one-on-one against the Indiana defense, which resulted in nine UNC turnovers.
The Hoosiers have the 35th best scoring defense in the country, holding opponents to an average of 60.1 points per game. This is quite impressive considering IU has gone against two teams that can really score in UNC and Xavier. Surely Arizona on Dec. 10 will be quite the test for Indiana defensively, but this team thrives on confidence, and this win against North Carolina certainly helps with that.