Hoosiers find shot on the road, beat Nebraska

Riding their best road shooting effort to date, the Hoosiers pulled out a 82-74 win Saturday at Nebraska.

Freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis, who had struggled on the road, led Indiana with 18 points and 13 boards. Junior Justin Smith added 15 points and seven boards, while Joey Brunk finished with 16 points and five boards.

IU hit 50.8 percent from the floor, a far cry from Wednesday’s nearly 32-percent effort at Rutgers. A split of this week’s road back-to-back gives the Hoosiers (14-4, 4-3 Big Ten) some momentum heading into Thursday’s home contest with No. 15 Michigan State.

The Hoosiers packed their shots.

After another subpar shooting effort at Rutgers, Archie Miller put it simply.

To win on the road, the Hoosiers had to hit a couple of big shots.

At Nebraska, they hit some.

It wasn’t just that the Hoosiers were hitting at a good clip — it was a big deal who was hitting. Armaan Franklin, who hadn’t hit a 3 since a 4-of-5 effort versus Notre Dame, connected on a pair. Jerome Hunter, who came into Saturday’s contest 4-of-28 from 3,  connected on a couple to pull the Hoosiers closer after an early run by the Cornhuskers.

Six different Hoosiers hit a 3, including one from Smith in the second half. Not to mention, De’Ron Davis hit a couple of tough jumpers, and Brunk was hitting from midrange. Because shots fell early, IU’s confidence just seemed to grow and grow, and so did the lead.

IU pulled ahead by as many as 19 points in the second half, taking control on the Cornhuskers’ home floor. There was an eight-plus minute stretch where the Hoosiers didn’t produce a field goal, but the cushion survived.

Prior to Saturday’s contest, the Hoosiers were shooting just 37 percent from the floor away from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Shooting as they did at Pinnacle Bank Arena showed the Hoosiers can put the ball in the hole elsewhere.

Sharing is caring.

The ability to hit shots probably had something to do with the Hoosiers’ ability to share the ball.

By notching 21 assists, IU tied a season-high set in the non-conference versus Troy.

When Miller has spoken about the Hoosiers’ shooting troubles, he’s insisted that better ball movement would lead to more in-rhythm shots. IU’s passing led to less rushed and contested shots, and shots going in elevated those assist totals.

In the first first half, Jackson-Davis had three of the Hoosiers’ 12 assists, finding teammates when the Cornhuskers predictably doubled. Jackson-Davis, Franklin, Rob Phinisee, and Devonte Green each finished with four assists.

If the game ended at halftime, IU still would have had its best assist total since a 12-assist outing versus Arkansas. The Hoosiers came into Saturday averaging 8.5 assists per contest in their last four. A shift in that stat category was an especially positive development.

Winning on the boards

Matching up with Nebraska’s four-guard lineup, the Hoosiers had one obvious advantage.

They came in ranked 11th in the NCAA in rebounding margin, averaging a plus-8.6 per game. The Cornhuskers were 348th in the same category, allowing opponents to out-rebound them by an average of 10 boards per game.

IU capitalized on that advantage, coming away with 47 rebounds to Nebraska’s 30. In the first half, it was Smith flying into the lane for putbacks. Down the stretch, with the Cornhuskers down eight with under three minutes left, Brunk grabbed an offensive board, missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Jackson-Davis got another offensive board and a third-chance bucket.

Every basket mattered as the Cornhuskers threatened late.

17 comments

  1. Once again this season THE ROCK is completely wrong! This team shot great tonight!
    Great win, Hoosiers!!!!

  2. The front court carried the shooting in the game guards and Hunter were 8 of 30, less than 30%, the inside game was the difference tonight with an undersizedNebraska team.

  3. Buck Henry died January 8 and IU got a road win keeping Nebraska at bay tonight after earlier win vs Nebraska that followed a fall football win vs Nebraska.

  4. THE ROCK had solidly predicted that this year’s team would NOT win on the road in the Big 10, and that prediction was W R O N G. Great win! We shoot like this in the future and we’re in the NCAA tournament. BOOM IN DEED! Go Big Red!!!!

  5. Good win. But, Rob had 5 of IU’s first 7 points 5min into game. Sub’ed out after his three for whatever reason and didn’t hit another shot all night. Let the kid play when he’s hitting.! And DeRon (DaRon?) – hit two rather tough shots. Again, leave the kid in awhile. Enough minutes and he may get his mojo going again. Front court – good game. Joey looking better & better. Did I hear right, IU’s remaining games = 2nd toughest schedule in the nation..?

    1. Ron,
      If I have it correct, Indiana does not play anyone lower than 36 in the NET (Illinois) the rest of the way, which means there won’t be any bad losses. The challenge is just getting some wins.

  6. Don’t know who from HT took the photo but it’s a really neat shot through the glass…Very artsy. Howell?
    Damn…Justin Smith is one specimen of a human being. Chiseled. Getting more comfortable at the game and doing things on the court that’s starting to open many eyes…He may surprise us all and end up being one hell of an NBA player. The great photo certainly makes him look the part.

  7. This team and coach are seemingly working hard. But let’s face it, it’s hard to watch. They went 8 minutes in the second half without a field goal. They get trapped too easily. Tons of bad passing, turnovers. I had to switch to ‘Ancient Aliens’ and Golf Channel for about 1/2 hour before going back to BTN. When BTN is talking up a big wrestling match between Nebraska and Iowa immediately following the game,…well. Watched DePaul destroy Butler. DePaul has been terrible for years. My how fortunes can change on a dime.

  8. It may be wishful thinking, but there is one stat from this game that I hope is a sign of an improving trend. JH took 3 shots and hit 2 of them. May not seem like much to most, especially with such a small sampling, but all 3 were from 3 point range. If JH can regain earlier form, it will be transformational to this team for sure. All the parts are there for a tournament team except consistent outside and FT shooting. A player with a consistent outside shot who can also drive takes this team to a whole different level.

    With JH being a wing, it takes pressure off both the guards and the bigs if he can come back to form. It will force the defense to stretch and make everything flow much more efficiently. We saw just a little of what I am speaking of when JS was able to find the range against MSU last year. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to do this consistently in his career.

    It doesn’t all rest on JH, but his return to form could be game changing. Every incremental improvement in his game has been painfully slow to watch, but hopefully it will continue in a positive direction the rest of his career.

  9. Really like the advancement of Hunter. He’s figuring out strong board play and getting his arms around solid positioning on D. He is gaining confidence through hard work and adding some #’s on the scoreboard. He is starting to add another dynamic to the floor game Coach Miller is developing. In another month that dynamic becomes a bigger option for IUBB. Timing ought to be just about right.

  10. It is hard to see 30% shooting on 3’s as “good” except as compared to the 20% for IU in previous away games!

  11. Well that = improvement. Agree about JH. I think the second 3 point attempt was bad shot. What is most important for IU is that J.H. is starting to become in the mix.
    Nebraska emotion a strong team. Go from here and see what happens. This may be a team that can proceed up or down. Just unknown. IU regardless of weak pre season schedule has won several games and a road big ten win is not a bad thing.

  12. Good win because it was on the road and it was in spite of another bad shooting performance by this team. They made only 60% of their Free Throws (Brunk is hard to watch when he’s at the line), 30% from 3-point range (terrible), especially when combined with 16 turnovers. We won because we out rebounded a smaller team.

    I echo Brad’s comments. This team is very hard to watch. They get up by 19 in the second half and then have to hang on by their fingernails against a team with a losing record.

    There’s no leader on this team. Green is a Captain, but he’s not the leader because he’s too inconsistent. Brunk is very positive, popular and more mature, but I don’t think he’s embraced the leadership position. I found myself wondering, “if only Yogi was on this roster.”

  13. Yogi – Are you still active in the NBA….? I guess you’re down to about 12 min./game.

    You have come a long way from announcing a planned family meeting at Ruth’s Chris after your junior season at IU (to see if he was going to declare for the NBA) ….to 12 NBA min/ game five years later. Mind if I recap some of your shooting numbers so far this year?

    2019-20 Season (because the season is basically over and this will be your final numbers)
    3-pt fg. 15/49 = .306 (terrible). Shame on you, Yogi.

    I’d still take you as a college player, Yogi. By your senior season, you had developed into a decent shooter(though you did have some of those “ugly” nights too) and a very good leader (especially considering the dysfunctional coach you had to work with).
    But Yogi, wouldn’t you agree leadership and shooting comes with more time on the floor(hoping to stay away from injuries too)…and personal growth/maturity from season to season (as you progressed from freshman to senior)? Don’t you think you grew up a ton in maturity between your junior and senior season? If Bryant had returned, I think you would have led us to a Final Four…despite Crean.
    Think you were a great leader in your freshman year? Think that jumper was great from beyond the arc in your freshman year? You probably know it was just as terrible as some of our young Hoosiers now (some who have dealt with major time off the court due to injuries)…
    Yogi, you shot 30% from 3-pt distance during your freshman season at IU ( 23/76 = .303 = “terrible”). Shame on you, Yogi.
    Do you know they’ve moved the college 3-pt line farther back?

    Back to this NBA gig…Keep workin’ on that outside shot…If you can get some more meaningful minutes(stay injury-free and take advantage when the coach calls your number in non-clutch situations), you’ll soon prove Indiana kids can actually shoot the ball.
    Don’t feel bad…Eric Gordon isn’t doing much better starting out this season ( 51/152 = 33.6 % = terrible). He is 37.2 for his career.

    Lastly, …..Just one other question, Yogi. Would you consider being a freshman in college the same as a basketball or shooting “career?” Would you consider a sophomore who spent much of his freshman season in concussion recovery as a basketball or shooting “career?”

    Thanks for your time, Yogi.

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