Hoosiers’ run to Big Ten semis typically ends in March – The Daily Hoosier

March can be capricious.

Up six with less than four minutes to go, the Hoosiers looked to be in prime position to contest their first Big Ten tournament final since 2001.

But the Hawkeyes responded with an and-1 and three straight runs to regain the lead. Still, the Hoosiers recovered to tie the game after a press led to a Xavier Johnson turnover and field goal.

Indiana only needed one defensive save to go into overtime. They executed perfectly and broke Iowa’s original game plan.

Then March started at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Jordan Bohannon threw a desperation 3-pointer from 35 feet with just seconds left.

The ball hit the glass first – and the banks were open.

And that meant another heartbreaking late game loss for the Hoosiers.

“I saw the shot clock and then I saw he was pretty well defended and he was almost about four, five feet from half court, so I knew he was going to hoist one. And then, as the ball – I saw – I thought it was going to be long, then it just came together and sometimes that’s what happens. It’s March, so obviously March Madness,” Trayce Jackson-Davis said of the final game.

The Hoosiers wouldn’t have been in this situation if not for their big man’s play. After a Johnson three to start the game, Jackson-Davis recorded five consecutive baskets, leading the Hoosiers on a 15-3 run to start the game. In the first half alone, the second-team All-Big Ten forward scored 16 points, but didn’t stop there.

The Greenwood, Indiana native — which is on the road to Indianapolis — scored 15 points in the second half for a 31-point, 10-rebound performance. On one occasion, he showed his unique athleticism when Johnson returned a pass, which looked like it would have hit the top of the backboard had it not been for Jackson-Davis’ terrific jump and catch for an alley-oop.

Johnson, who himself had a great game with 20 points and nine assists, connected with the big man on eight occasions. Their pick-and-roll game was unstoppable.

“Me and him (Johnson) just talked about it, we talked to the coach, trying to be more ball screen oriented. He’s a great player, especially when he’s going down he’s going to get the good reads. And playing with him, I love playing with him, he’s my guy,” Jackson-Davis said.

However, aside from the duo and Race Thompson who had 11 points and seven boards, the rest of the roster struggled to make an attacking impact. Due to the Jackson-Davis Hawkeyes double teaming, many players received open looks, but were unable to convert.

Off the line, the team only shot 5 of 24 from the field. Starters Miller Kopp and Parker Stewart shot a combined 2 of 9. Kopp started 0 of 7 from the field before hitting two crucial three-pointers in the second half.

The team as a whole shot just 5 of 19 for 26.3 percent from deep. Iowa shot 14 of 32 for 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Indiana felt he was getting the hits he wanted from his offense.

“Guys, we had a lot of good looks from the perimeter. There were a lot of open looks tonight, we just didn’t get them and that’s part of basketball,” head coach Mike Woodson said.

“I mean, I have to keep positioning our guys. When Trayce is double teamed, our guys have to step in and make shots. I thought Iowa was making shots when they had open sights and we struggled to make them tonight in that area.

On the other side, the Hawkeyes had an equally impressive player on their team. Keegan Murray — who finished fourth nationally with 23.9 points per game — has killed the Hoosiers time and time again.

He was too fast for the frontcourt and too big for IU’s perimeter defenders. Murray finished the game with 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting with eight 3-pointers. He was able to use screens off the ball to receive many open looks. But, even if it was disputed, it didn’t seem to matter.

“He’s the real deal,” Woodson said of Murray.

“No, it’s a charge. I mean, there’s nothing he can’t do with the basketball in his hand. He’s a really good defender and he bounces the ball in terms of height and length, so I mean, I think the sky’s the limit for him. I think he’ll be fine and a good NBA team will really like him. He played well.

Now it’s wait and see.

Needing two wins to cement themselves in the Big Dance, the Hoosiers accomplished what they needed by beating Michigan and Illinois. Then they gave Iowa everything they could handle.

Now the Hoosiers will be eagerly waiting for their name to be called on Draft Sunday.

But one thing is certain, this is a team with a major chip on its shoulder.

“Well, like they said in the locker room, I don’t think anyone wants to see us right now. I think we’ve proven not just to the Big Ten but to the country that we’re a team, a team. level that can compete with anyone,” Jackson-Davis said.

“So it took the last three seconds to beat us to the hottest team in the Big Ten right now and it stings, but at the same time I feel like we have a lot of ball left. “


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