Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Without head coach Mike Woodson, Indiana escapes Minnesota with fourth straight win

Trayce Jackson-Davis put forth another superhuman effort, becoming the program's all-time leading shot-blocker in the process

Well... that was close.

In the end, Indiana escaped Minnesota with a 61-57 victory, improving its season record to 14-6 and conference record to 5-4. Wednesday night's win finally has Indiana above .500 in the Big Ten with a record that's currently good enough to be tied for fourth in the conference, a far cry from where this team was just two weeks ago.

Against the worst team in the Big Ten, Indiana led by three at the half and never looked to be in control of the game despite having the talent advantage and best player on the court in Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Indiana freshman Malik Reneau handles the ball during Indiana's loss to Northwestern on Jan. 8. (HN photo/Cam Schultz)

Without head coach Mike Woodson providing the usual stability with the teams' rotations, associate head coach Yasir Rosemond decided to ride his starters for most of the game. Jackson-Davis never left the floor and put together his fourth consecutive outstanding performance tallying 25 points, 21 rebounds and six crucial blocks.

After his first career win as a head coach in any capacity, Yasir Rosemond shined light on how impressive his man in the middle has been as of late.

"His leadership has been amazing," Rosemond said of Jackson-Davis. "He's finally healthy. For a guy at the top of the scouting report to do what he's doing is amazing."

Jackson-Davis had his way in single coverage, as has been the case all season long, but in addition to Jackson-Davis having another big game, a few of his teammates came along for the ride in the first half. 

There was finally a sighting of forwards Miller Kopp and Malik Reneau. Both Kopp and Reneau had become afterthoughts in IU's offense, so it was promising to see the two put on good showings, both scoring in double figures.

Kopp's attempts from 3-point range had noticeably decreased since the injury to starting point guard Xavier Johnson. With Minnesota opting to defend Indiana primarily with a 2-3 zone defense, that have Kopp the space to fire and hit.

For Reneau, the adjustment period stemmed from trying to play more minutes alongside Jackson-Davis and still find ways to be effective while taking less shots. Reneau seems to have adjusted and showed out with a 10-point first half and noticeably improved chemistry alongside Jackson-Davis. With Reneau and Jackson-Davis on the floor, it looks like Indiana's most effective lineup at this point. 

However, to the dismay of many, Reneau saw the floor for under one minute in the second half with Race Thompson taking the bulk of those minutes at power forward. The substitution, or lack thereof, caused confusion because of how well Reneau had played and given that Thompson was making his first start since returning from a knee injury suffered at Iowa.

Miller Kopp looks to make a pass during Indiana's win over Illinois on Jan. 19. (HN photo/Cam Schultz)

It seemed to be too much too soon for Thompson but given his brother-like connection with Jackson-Davis the two were able to put each other in position to succeed.

The latter stages of the game came down to which team could consistently get stops and the Hoosiers were able to lock down the final three minutes. Indiana forced Minnesota into tough, contested shots from the perimeter and ultimately shut them out in the final minutes of the game while going on a 7-0 run to take the lead and the win.

Rosemond loved the defensive effort from his team down the stretch.

"Defense is what we're built on," said Rosemond. "We work on defense every day. Coach Woodson put in a system and we live and die by it."

IU looks to continue its strong defensive play and go for five conference wins in a row when the Ohio State Buckeyes roll into Assembly Hall on Saturday night. A fifth straight win would mark the longest conference winning streak for Indiana since 2017.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 Hoosier Network