IU beats Michigan State as Trayce Jackson-Davis puts exclamation point on 3rd win in a row
BLOOMINGTON – IU stretched its winning streak to three Sunday, with an impressive 82-69 win against Michigan State. Here are three reasons why:
Turgid offense prompted a couple pronounced first-half scoring droughts and allowed Michigan State (13-7, 5-4) to stretch a 25-16 lead in the opening half. Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trayce Jackson-Davis couldn’t find their range, and the movement around them slowed as a result.
It wouldn’t last, because Indiana’s best player wouldn’t let it. Jackson-Davis woke up from an 0-of-4 start to dominate the last 10-12 minutes. He attacked double teams, moved the ball for teammates and gave Tom Izzo’s coverages fits.
IU was 'somewhat dead in the water.'Then Trayce Jackson-Davis called players-only meeting.
Jackson-Davis finished the first half with 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks, setting a past not dissimilar to his dominant outing midweek in a win at Illinois.
Behind their star, the Hoosiers (13-6, 4-4) rallied from nine down to lead by five at the break. Jackson-Davis finished the game with 31 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks and four assists.
Michigan State didn’t make the mistakes Illinois did, the Spartans doubling Jackson-Davis early and pretty much every time he touched the ball near the post.
Indiana responded with some of its most-efficient offense on those possessions, moving bodies into shooting pockets and giving its All-American big man passing options. He was not so efficient as he was in Champaign, when he scored 35 points on 19 field goal attempts. But he still managed his share of assists, and the Hoosiers got offense from behind the arc as a result.
Trey Galloway and Tamar Bates benefitted in particular. They combined for 34 points and eight made 3s, their off-ball movement and Jackson-Davis’ added attention lending them substantial roles in Sunday’s game.
With the Spartans hellbent on not letting Jackson-Davis beat them singlehandedly, those contributions proved crucial.
They have not been the strength this season Mike Woodson would like them to be. At the start of play Sunday, the Hoosiers ranked outside the top 250 nationally in team percentage from the stripe.
Holding their nerve when the points came free made the final difference in this one. Indiana actually outscored Michigan State at the free-throw line, and was more consistent in hitting its shots there in general. Spartan runs ended with missed free throws, or were answered with makes from IU. Jackson-Davis closed the game with a pair of loud alley-oop dunks, finishing with 31 points, but free throws provided him the platform to close with that flourish.
Again, it hasn't always been a strength this season, but it was for 40 important minutes Sunday.