Jackson-Davis fuels second-half surge in IU’s 63-55 win over Maryland

For a long, anxious moment during Monday’s game, Trayce Jackson-Davis appeared hobbled.

The sophomore forward was skipping on his left leg to the free throw line, refusing to put weight on his right. He bent all the way down, in pain. Once he hit his free throws, walking away from the line a bit gimpy, IU coach Archie Miller started motioning to him.

Miller wanted to take him out. Jackson-Davis, engrossed in beating Maryland, uttered the opposite.

“I’m good. Don’t take me out.”

As he did in a 63-55 win over the Terrapins, Jackson-Davis was able to dig deep and flip a switch. Moments after his coach tried to pull him, the 6-foot-9 forward was just past the midcourt line, hopping up and down to a sparse crowd’s delight.

It was a quick, sudden switch, almost as drastic as his performance in the first half as opposed to the second. In the first half, the Hoosiers trailing 27-21, Jackson-Davis was just 2-of-9 from the field, unable to convert shots a couple of feet from the rim.

But in the second half, Jackson-Davis scored 17 of his 22 points, connecting on 7-of-9 from the field. He was utterly dominant when the Hoosiers (7-4, 2-2 Big Ten) needed their big man to be, helping them even their conference record before a road swing.

Miller believes Jackson-Davis thinks too much sometimes, as he was talking early in the game about the Terrapins’ double-teams. At halftime, though, he seemed to drop the worry.

“He responded,” Miller said. “He looked at me and said ‘I’m ready to go.’ He has the ability to respond, because he cares a lot.”

Miller would like to avoid these slow starts, obviously. But in a game the Hoosiers needed, Jackson-Davis gave his team the second half they needed, especially with his sophomore classmate, Armaan Franklin, out with an ankle injury less than seven minutes into the game.

It wasn’t just a one-man effort, though. While the Hoosiers were 37-percent shooters from the floor, they were able to hold Maryland (6-5, 1-4) to just 38.5 percent shooting, as well. IU also won the rebounding battle, 43-33, which was a massive win for a team that’s struggled in that department.

Jackson-Davis had 15 boards, and Race Thompson produced 13 points and 11 rebounds. Not only did he do important work on the glass, but Thompson was vital in defending Maryland’s small-ball lineup. Aside from Aaron Wiggins, who scored 22 points, the Terrapins only had one other double-figures scorer, Hakim Hart, with 10 points.

“The rebounding was huge,” Miller said. “When Trayce and Race rebound like that, offensively and defensively, we are a much better team.”

IU’s offensive attack, though, was dysfunctional much of the first half, which wasn’t helped by the fact that Franklin went out with 13:07 left. Without their best outside shooter, the Hoosiers missed all nine of their 3-point shots in the half.

Maryland wasn’t much better at 10-of-26 from the floor, but the Terrapins were able to hit 4-of-13 from beyond the arc, which helped them take a 27-21 advantage into the break.

Things were looking pretty bleak as the second half started, with the Hoosiers falling behind 37-27 five minutes in. But shots finally started to go in, as Rob Phinisee and Al Durham both hit 3-pointers to close the deficit to 37-35. Durham finished with 13 points.

“When you go 0-for-9 from 3 in the first half, it’s frustrating … they let it play a role defensively,” Miller said. “That didn’t happen as much tonight.”

IU held the line defensively, and Jackson-Davis was supercharged. He scored 12 straight points for the Hoosiers during one stretch in the second half.

A 13-2 run was actually started by a Jerome Hunter 3, and Jackson-Davis followed that with a steal, taking it the length of the floor for a one-handed flush, roaring, as IU took a 47-43 advantage.

Meanwhile, the Terrapins were on a slump of 1-of-10 shooting from the floor.

“Really just my shots weren’t falling in the first half,” Jackson-Davis said. “But at halftime, coach just put an emphasis on you just gotta keep attacking the basket. Those shots are going to start falling. We’re making them every day in practice. 

“Just never losing confidence. Just keep shooting the ball and keep going at them, because, eventually, they are going to wear down, and eventually we are going to get that rhythm.”

Jackson-Davis did get that rhythm, and he refused to let it go.

Even as he was grimacing in pain at the free throw line, he refused to let a knee injury sideline him.

“I saw there were four to six minutes left, I don’t know, there was still a lot of time left in the game,” Jackson-Davis said. “I just knew at this point in the game, I could not come out.

“Getting hurt even made me more focused and upped my level of play.”

While Jackson-Davis’ play was encouraging, Miller did have less positive news about Franklin. He said the sophomore guard rolled his ankle and he could be doubtful for IU’s next two games.

IU hits the road for contests at Wisconsin and Nebraska next.

“Guys are going to have to step up when their number is called,” Miller said.

6 comments

  1. The backboards & rims need to be replaced after this one. Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen that poor of a shooting performance from 2 teams in a few years. Certainly a problem that we can’t shoot on our own floor. We’re gonna see A LOT of zone again this year. Particularly if we don’t have a dangerous baseline player.

    I did see 1 key new positive tonight & that was Leal. He has court savvy & I was real impressed with how he defended & move the ball. Just need some shots to go down for him (like everyone else!)

    As for the negatives….Jerome Hunter. He’s missing some smarts. I’d sat his rear in warm-ups after the 2nd foul on the 3 shooter. Ridiculous. Play Leal over him all day long.

  2. Given the lack of comments here, obviously there is not a lot of excitement about IU’s win last night. And if you watched the game, you understand why. That was an ugly game.

    I watched the game a second time, and I still found it hard to believe we won. We were behind until about 10 minutes into the second half. IU played hard, they were tough on defense and they never gave up, but IU is again a terrible 3-point shooting team. They’re just terrible. Some of those 3-point attempts last night were some of the worst shots I’ve ever seen attempted by an IU BB team. Indiana High Schools used to produce kids who were great shooters, from long range and from the free throw line. But it seems that skill set has diminished over the years. Where are the shooters and why don’t we have any on this roster? Maybe the transfer will change things. When does he start playing?

    1. And, actually, the Hoosiers put on quite the classroom/clinic of ball movement and unselfish basketball in the second half. It was like an exam in poetry…It was a far removed from “weaves to nowhere” we’ve witnessed in a very long time. Even with his bad mistakes, Hunter played a pretty solid floor game. He hit one of the rare triples and he provided some size/havoc on the boards. He is a strong talent….But, as I said, when there is silence in the gym (yet, a gym that is accustomed to rafters rocking like Assembly), inspired sharpshooting may be in short supply. We are all human…Kids like to show off. Smooth shooting strokes live in seeking instant crowd reaction…How can you be a prima donna in an empty theater?

      We played some strong basketball in that second half. A lot of positives …when you can somehow find them in games played at funeral parlor stadiums. Even when the deep shots fall, it hardly looks more than a game of ‘Around the World’ when there is no explosive reaction from a huge crowd typical of the game of basketball anywhere across this great Indiana basketball state. We are asking these kids to be hamsters on a wheel…Muscles do have memories…They also have memories of cheers tied to their tendons and heartstrings.

    2. I certainly didn’t think it was ugly. Particularly the 2nd half. What was satisfying was the attitude change after Franklin’s injury. In about 2 minutes they got tougher. Played like Coach Miller’s teams at Dayton always played. Playing stout D makes that happen. Hope Franklin isn’t out for 2 games but that’s what’s being talked about. We’ll see Thursday.

  3. ^^^That’s an unfair assessment. Excitement levels are down nationwide. Watching a game without the energy of Assembly, along with zero fans …sort of drains excitement. I’m sure it’s an equal feeling among millions of fans used to watching their teams play off the energy of crowds in packed arenas and stadiums. It makes the broadcasts far more entertaining…It makes guys on the floor far more energized.
    Honestly, I don’t think any accurate gauging or realistic assessments can be made in this unprecedented “zombie” environment which sports is now being played. Adrenaline is in short supply…Benches are doing everything humanly possible to provide noise and excite the starters on the floor….but it’s just damn weird and it’s nothing nearing normal. There may be more pressure to hit shots when it’s as quiet as a mortuary. Everything seems under the microscope. It’s all vastly removed what all these guys have known.
    All of these games look like pick-up scrimmages held at the old Wildermuth HPER building….albeit the courts where the top playground ballers would secure.

    It’s hard to get excited right now…as it should be. It is a pandemic, after all. Maybe as we get closer to March…? Maybe if a percentage of fans (post some momentum made with vaccines and reduced virus spread) can attend the plethora of March Madness games to descend upon Indianapolis?

    Sports without fans is a dead skunk in the road….No shock that excitement everywhere (including blogs) has been seriously quelled.

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