ALBANY, NY – Friday night turned into Saturday morning before Indiana punched its ticket to the Round of 32 here in upstate New York, thanks to 71–60 win against Kent State, Trace Jackson-Davis’ 24 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and five assists led the way.
Here are three reasons No. 4 seed IU advanced:
buy on bully ball
Big Ten teams have taken advantage of the Hoosiers’ (23-11) tendency to play two out-and-out big men at times this season, whether it’s Trace Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson, or Malik Reneau and Jordan. Some combination of Geronimo. bench.
Kent State is not in the Big Ten.
The No. 13 seeded Golden Flashes attempted creative doubles against Jackson-Davis, which was not surprising considering their quality. But their lack of strong secondary post defenders left Thompson to feast on in the first half. He scored 13 in the first 20 minutes on Friday night, excelling in the space afforded by Jackson-Davis’ gravitational pull.
Insider:Race Thompson has given up so much for IU. He made some comebacks in the victory over Kent State.
Kent State (28-7) couldn’t help but adjust, which opened up the back up for Indiana’s All-American forward. Some tough finishing and four free throws put them at 10 at the break. As is his custom, Jackson-Davis added seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks for the Troubles.
Despite some foul trouble in the backcourt, the Hoosiers faithfully held Carey and Malik Jacobs to a combined 5-of-17 from the floor in the first half. Kent State grabbed plenty of offensive rebounds but IU limited turnovers against a team known for forcing them. The higher seeded team was good value for their 35–27 halftime lead.
TJD’s legacy?‘He really wants to be a player who brings Indiana basketball back.’
banner night of the race
It hasn’t always been the smoothest of seasons for Thompson.
Indiana’s sixth-year forward has dealt with multiple injuries. He lives in the ever-increasing shadow of Jackson-Davis, Thompson’s role diminishing as Jackson-Davis grew into the all-everything, do-everything MVP of the Hoosiers.
No one stood taller on Friday night than the Minneapolis native. He performed tough around the rim. He scraped by for rebounds against a bad rebounding team. He ate up the chances given to him because of Kent State’s insistence Jackson-Davis would not win the game.
When he returned to college for a sixth year, it would have been the kind of play that Thompson described as a major reason. That was outstanding on Friday (and considering the game ends on Saturday). He finished with a team-high 20 points as well as nine rebounds.
trace turns it on
Kent State got some good punches in the second half. After Indiana pushed the lead back to double digits, timely 3s and a few more turnovers than the Hoosiers gave the Golden Flash the lead in the first half to accelerate and get back in the game.
Each time, IU had an answer. Damn it every time, answer number 23 is worn.
Kent State threw everything they could at Jackson-Davis, trying to take the Hoosiers’ All-American out of the game. This opened windows for teammates, with several other Indiana players scoring in double digits against a defense that was Kent State’s calling card.
But eventually, the Golden Flashes ran out of ideas. Jackson-Davis turned it on and lit up Kent State’s upset hopes with a series of impressive post moves, slick transition baskets and emphatic slam dunks. Kent State managed to keep the door open, if only for the second half.
When the time came, it was the best player on the floor—perhaps the best player left in the tournament—who closed it out, sending the Hoosiers to the Round of 32.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.
Indiana 71, Kent St. 60
Kent St. (28-7): Davis 4-9 0-0 10, Thomas 2-10 1-1 6, Hornbeek 0-2 0-0 0, Carey 5-18 4-4 15, Jacobs 3-11 1-3 8, Sullinger 3-9 0-0 8, Payton 5-10 0-0 10, Gillespie 0-0 2-2 2, Odusipe 0-0 1-2 1, Rollins 0-0 0-0 0. Total 22-69 9-12 60.
Indiana (23-11): Jackson-Davis 10-17 4-5 24, Cope 4-9 2-3 13, Thompson 8-11 2-3 20, Galloway 1-3 0-0 2, Hood-Schiffino 4-11 0-0 8, Bates 0-6 0-0 0, Renew 2-4 0-0 4, Geronimo 0-1 0-0 0, Banks 0-0 0-0 0, Leal 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29- 62 8 -11 71.
HALFTIME—Indiana 35-27. 3-Point Goal_Kent St. 7-21 (Davis 2-4, Sullinger 2-4, Jacobs 1-2, Thomas 1-5, Carey 1-6), Indiana 5-15 (Kopp 3-6, Thompson 2-3, Galloway 0-1, Hood-Schiffino 0-2, Bates 0-3). Rebounds_Kent St. 36 (Jacobs 9), Indiana 39 (Jackson-Davis 11). assist_Kent St. 11 (Jacobs 7), Indiana 14 (Jackson-Davis 5). Total fouls_Kent St. 12, Indiana 13.
This article originally appeared on the Indianapolis Star: IU basketball vs. Kent State: Trace Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson star