IU battles to 85-74 result over Portland State

Once Trayce Jackson-Davis’ hands released from the rim after an emphatic two-handed slam, the 6-foot-9 freshman was immediately looking for his point guard.

Rob Phinisee, who dished the ball to the Hoosier forward, was patting a hand on the top of his high-top haircut. Jackson-Davis, smiling wide, was doing the same.

“On his head,” Jackson-Davis explained postgame. “It’s just the generic term. They usually say it when you just dunk it and someone’s close by.”

While that’s the dictionary definition of Jackson-Davis and Phinisee’s back-and-forth, there is a reason why that “on his head” dunk was so cathartic during Saturday’s 85-74 win over Portland State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The Vikings were close by. They weren’t relenting. And the Hoosiers would have to assert their dominance in moments to finally expel their visitors from the West Coast.

This was a much different game than Indiana’s 33-point win over Western Illinois on opening night. Portland State guards Holland Woods and Matt Hauser were difficult to corral, and there were stretches where the Hoosiers’ offense was less than flowing.

Things turned tense shortly after Phinisee knocked a ball out of Woods’ hands for a turnover by the Portland State bench. Phinisee was shaking his head, and the Vikings were barking back, leading to a technical on PSU’s Alonzo Woods.

A six-point lead with 11:13 left expanded to eight with two Al Durham free throws. Durham, who finished with a team-high 18 points, followed that up with a three-point play, feet springing high off the hardwood as he laid the basketball through the rim with his left hand.

IU’s 11-point advantage wouldn’t grow by leaps and bounds until late, when Jackson-Davis was hanging on the rim for that “on his head” dunk, boosting the lead to 84-66.

Jackson-Davis, who finished with 13 points and 10 boards, his first collegiate double-double, was showing the kind of assertiveness Archie Miller wants to see.

“Trayce has got to be more forceful,” Miller said. “He’s got to play with more energy and speed. He’s so gifted and so talented. When the ball finds him around the basket, he’s got great hands, he’s going to be able to finish.”

As a team, it’s on the defensive end where Miller remains most concerned. At times, the Hoosiers had difficulties staying in front of the Vikings, who cashed in for 32 free throw attempts, sinking 24.

Hauser and Woods also combined to go 8-of-14 from beyond the arc. Before his coach even spoke, the co-captain Durham knew what the Hoosiers needed to clean up.

“We got to be better in all aspects,” Durham said. “I feel like we got to be better on the ball, be better in help. We got to be able to close out. I feel like we got a couple things to work on, fine-tune in practice.

“We’re going to hit those marks tomorrow.”

Specifically, Miller said the Hoosiers haven’t been “sticky” enough guarding the ball.

Allowing the other team’s best guards to hit 3s at a rate akin to Woods and Hauser could have more dire consequences later in the season.

“You do that on a given night, you’re going to get beat,” Miller said.

But in this game, IU didn’t suffer that fate. They were just tested at a different level. And when the intensity of the game rose, so did the Hoosiers.

Redshirt freshman Jerome Hunter provided one spark, draining two 3s late in the first half to cushion a 43-33 halftime lead. Redshirt sophomore Race Thompson was also a force on the glass, one rebound short of a double-double with 10 and 9.

Another encouraging sign was the 26 minutes played by Phinisee, nine above his output in the opener. Still working his way back to full strength from an abdominal injury, Phinisee continues to be a pain in the side of opposing ballhandlers, like on the steal that led to Walker’s technical and Durham’s three-point play.

Phinisee is somewhat a “Rusty Rob,” Miller said, because he wasn’t able to practice in October. But he still came away with seven points, seven assists, and a couple of key plays on the defensive end.

“He got a stop, he brought energy to us,” Durham said. “He lifted us up, lifted the arena up.”

Add in junior Justin Smith’s 16 points and eight rebounds — which included more than his fair share of slams — and the Hoosiers had enough to win the day.

As far as when the Hoosiers will get Green back, Miller said it will still be some time.

“He’s not anywhere near playing in a game because you have to practice,” Miller said, adding he’s moved into non-contact work. “When he does come back, we want him to be ready to roll, full go, so we can get the reps he needs.

“Hopefully tomorrow he’ll start to increase that load. As we approach Tuesday, hopefully he has some reps under his belt. Doubtful for Tuesday.”

Sophomore Damezi Anderson was also held out of Saturday’s game with a sore leg, which Miller said was precautionary.

“Every team in the country is going to deal with it. Right now it’s our turn to deal with a couple of these things,” Miller said. “I’m hopeful we get them all nipped in the bud, get our full allotment. I think it will be fun to see these guys grow together if we can get it.”


  1. IU was 3-of-14 from 3-point range? That’s not going to cut it.

    Marginally better at the free throw line, and while it is very early, there is no indication that this will be a better outside shooting team. Going to have to play really good defense.

  2. Didn’t see the game so I cannot comment on the game other than to say I’m glad to see our Team starting off 2-0!

  3. Is it me simply forgetting, or do Archie’s players suffer more injuries than any other IU BB team over the last 40 years? How many games have key IU players missed as a result of injuries since Archie took over? I’m not trying to imply that Archie and staff are doing anything wrong, but this is just weird. Aside from Scott May breaking his arm, I don’t recall too many of Bob Knight’s key players missing games due to injuries. Maybe my memory is failing me.

    1. Mike Woodson comes to mind with a herniated disc. I think players are have more muscle and power, the game is faster.

    2. Players played through dents dings and injuries. I think May tried to played with cast. I remember a player from Minnesota I think that played with cast back in those days. I think he used it as a weapon.

    3. Neil Reed suffered throat bruises….which became a deterrent for anyone else claiming soreness or injury.

    4. Yes it’s giving you some trouble. I remember many players over the decades nicked up and some lingering injuries.

  4. Blackmon(knee surgery followed by lower leg injury), Hulls (shoulder), Roth(ankles?), Elston(stomach muscle tear), Mo Creek (knee cap fracture..then proceeded to injury the other knee), Anunoby (right knee), Hartman (knee surgery after injury)…Hanner Perea (knee injury), Stan Robinson (knee injury) ….and a partridge in a pear tree.

    I’m sure I’m missing some too….Guys were frequently hurt under Crean. Surprised by the memory lapse because you continually used various injuries as excuses for Crean not getting deeper in the tournament.

    And then we have Devin Davis nearly getting killed (run over) on 17th Street by a vehicle driven by Emmitt Holt. Davis had to transfer because he smoked some weed (probably to relieve headaches from brain trauma).

    Season…after season was full of disruptions; scholly crunches, transfers and a slew of various injuries.

  5. Maybe Cook Hall is to blame…? Always recall Crean saying how guys were putting in extra hours at Cook Hall. Bodies don’t get a lot of down time anymore….nor do brains. Stress as a result of a need to always be getting ready to impress “next level” scouts. Gym rats…There’s a point when bodies just can’t endure the nonstop demands of today’s “norm.”

    Back in the day, you went to practice…and that was your practice. Now practice begets practice…begets more practice…begets shooting around at midnight at Cook Hall(nothing strenuous but fatigue may grow).

  6. Hmm? Maybe I’m on to something? Could Cook Hall be to blame for poor shooting…and very lackluster free throw shooting percentages?
    Shouldn’t most shooting be done in the actual gym you’re going to play home games (different lighting, background images, depth perception changes going from Cook to Skjodt…?
    Then you go on the road and you throw a third equation into the mix. Most of the greats talk about repetition….but shouldn’t repetition include repeating the art of shooting at the same couple rims? More rims and more practice courts sounds great but how do you find your sweet spot with the walls…the lights…the mark of confidence on same piece of maple making the same sound off your dribble? Then throw in superstition…and the belief you actually do shoot better on a particular practice hoop not in Assembly/Skjodt? Then what? Sure, it’s the same 15 ft. free throw…and the same 10 ft. high rim, but his basket and me art starting a love affair.

    Just my lousy opinion, but show me any stage performer who doesn’t get jitters when you remove the familiar or the regular surroundings where the craft can honed to all familiar sounds and surrounding and made as comfortable as the kitchen at home.

  7. H4H,
    I don’t think everyone is wrong to be concerned about the amount of injuries, but I wonder if we are on the right track as to the source. I mentioned a while back there is a growing concern in the nba ranks regarding a similar issue. It appears the concern is these kids are playing too much competitive basketball during the years leading up to the professional levels, and by the time they get there, their bodies are worn out. The culprit being looked at is AAU ball. Not sure what to make of it, but the rise the year round high level competition consequences are at least worth checking into.

    On the positive side of very negative stat, 3 point shooting, one JH who hit 50% of his attempts. If this is what CAM was speaking of last year when said, “He made shots,” we may be seeing the first evidence of it. Also very encouraged by the other injured players from last year coming up to speed in both RP and RT. Ugly game, but important experience for the team as a whole. Not to mention, still missing your best perimeter defender and a capable outside shooter in DG.

      1. Yeah,
        It kind of gets overlooked in all the other Devonte things. Kenpom has him highly rated in both steals and blocks. There has never been a question about the talent on both ends of the court. The question has been him getting it together with good decision making. It will be really interesting when he comes back, if he is able to put all that together. Could be a lot of fun this year if he and a couple other players do.

  8. I think think is on to something. These young men grow up playing BB, at an intense level, 12 months a year and are not given time to allow their bodies to rest/recuperate. My oldest daughter went through the same thing from the age of 12 playing high level club soccer. Then she got into HS, played every HS game for four years, followed immediately by the Club schedule the week after the HS season ended and augmented by the Olympic Development Program. She was a goal-keeper, and by the time she was 20, her back was a mess. We had a spine specialist tell us that in reviewing her MRI, he first thought he was evaluating the back of a 45 year old women. She was 19 at the time.

    1. You guys are absolutely correct. I have been told college basketball trainers are often appalled at the condition of the feet and legs of incoming freshmen, men or women. The nonstop pounding and lack of proper care and treatment has athletes fighting an uphill battle from the get-go.

      1. I first became aware of the issue a few months ago from a article on the 4 letter network’s site. Apparently an nba trainer was becoming very worried about the problem due to one of their rookies blowing out a leg for no apparent reason. Looking into the issue, it looked like the player’s body was just worn out! Hard to believe, especially on a player barely into the league.

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