Indiana, which couldn’t stop a soul during a three-game losing streak that saw it allow nearly 87 points per game, suddenly can’t be stopped.
The Hoosiers are in Minneapolis without head coach Mike Woodson, who is recovering from COVID-19, the school said Wednesday.
In winning their last three games, the Hoosiers have scored 75 points a game and permitted just under 60. A trip to Minneapolis on Wednesday night to face Big Ten foe Minnesota appears to be a forum to continue those trends.
At 7-11 overall and 1-7 in the conference, the Golden Gophers are struggling. With just two steady scoring threats in the lineup in Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia, they haven’t been able to create much on offense, except for a 70-67 upset win at Ohio State on Jan. 12.
A 60-56 defeat Sunday at Michigan was Minnesota’s third straight loss. The Gophers led by 10 in the first half and still had a chance in the last minute before a technical foul helped end their hopes.
It was still a step forward as far as second-year coach Ben Johnson was concerned. Minnesota was blown out in previous losses at home against Illinois and Purdue, averaging just 49.5 points a game.
“When you play like that, you give yourself a chance,” Johnson said. “When you compete like that, you give yourself a chance. When you defend like that, you give yourself a chance.”
To do more than give themselves a chance against Indiana (13-6, 4-4), the Gophers have to figure out a way to make shots and shut down star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. During the Hoosiers’ last three games, Jackson-Davis is averaging 28 points, 12 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
In Sunday’s 82-69 win over Michigan State, Jackson-Davis tallied 31 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots.
“In the second half, we spaced the floor and it allowed me to go one-on-one,” Jackson-Davis said. “I feel like there’s not a person in the country that can honestly guard me. When we hit shots and we’re clicking, we’re tough to beat.”
Jackson-Davis was named the Player of the Week by four different organizations Monday, including the Big Ten.
–Field Level Media