Indiana got its best win of the season today, toppling the first unanimous No. 1 team of the season, 79-74. The Hoosiers held a 15 point lead entering the half, then held off a strong second half comeback from Purdue for the final 20 minutes for the win.
Trayce Jackson-Davis made his case for national player of the year, leading Indiana in points, rebounds, and blocks against Zach Edey. Indiana needed everything he could muster, and Trayce delivered, playing all but one minute in the game.
The loss is just the second on the year for Purdue and their first on the road. After dropping Tuesday’s game in college park, the win over the No. 1 team in the country should be enough to keep Indiana in the AP Polls and firmly in the NCAA tournament at this point.
Here’s Three Things:
Trayce has continued to dominate the Big Ten, finishing with 25 points, five blocks, and seven rebounds to lead the way for Indiana. Edey outscored him, but Trayce proved that he’s the more versatile, valuable player, making plays with his athleticism and showing the benefits of being more than Just Big.
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS BABYYYYYY— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 4, 2023
Back-to-back slams @IndianaMBB pic.twitter.com/9uID4il9LH
Most importantly, Trayce was able to get the crowd into it in the first half, putting Purdue’s freshmen guards on their heels. When Braden Smith was able to get past Indiana’s on ball defense, Trayce had a couple of demoralizing blocks to ensure Smith could never get comfortable.
He was also able to attack when Edey went to the bench or got into foul trouble. When Edey went to the bench in the first half, Trayce scored four quick points on a couple of dunks over the Boilermakers lesser forwards. He also went right at Edey’s chest later in the second half after drawing Edey’s third foul of the night on the defensive half of the court.
Looking at the stat line, you would never know that Jalen Hood-Schifino and Braden Smith were both freshman point guards playing in this rivalry for the first time. Hood-Schifino looked up to the challenge, while Smith faltered in the hostile road environment, going just 1-8 while Hood-Schifino went 8-15 from the field.
Hood-Schifino was listed as a first rounder in ESPN’s most recent NBA mock draft, before his performance today, which should at the very least solidify him as an NBA prospect. Even without his 3-point shot falling, Hood-Schifino found a way to get 16 against the Boilermakers, including two big shots down the stretch to put the game away.
In 31 minutes as Indiana’s primary ball handler, Hood-Schifino turned it over just once versus four assists against the 21st most efficient defense in the country, per Kenpom. He was also able to apply the defensive pressure himself, finishing with two steals on the night.
Indiana won tonight in large part simply because Jalen Hood-Schifino is more talented than anyone in Purdue’s backcourt. He turned in an offensive and defensive performance that none of the Boilermakers’ guards could have matched, giving Indiana the edge while two of the best bigs in the country battled it out in the paint.
Indiana planned and executed its plan against Purdue to a tee tonight, allowing Edey to get his 33 points while clamping down on everyone else and making them work to get the ball into Edey. The Boliermakers, who turned it over just seven times in its win over Penn State, committed 16 turnovers tonight, a number that eclipses their 15 assists on the night.
The Hoosiers also prevented anyone from Purdue from getting into a rhythm, holding Fletcher Loyer to 1-6 from 3-point range and allowing Braden Smith just one attempt from deep. Indiana didn’t shoot well as a team from deep either tonight, but played well enough defensively that it didn’t matter.
Things went off-script a bit in the second half, which made every stop and basket in the first half count as the Hoosiers were able to hold the lead for the entirety of the second half. There were still issues with discipline on defense, with guys leaving their feet way too early and drawing fouls, but it was clear that Indiana took the floor knowing what it needed to do to win today.
Credit to the players as well, since there have absolutely been points this season when the coaching staff had a game plan in place that Indiana simply couldn’t implement when things got hairy. Kaleb Banks, Malik Reneau, and Tamar Bates added 15 points from the bench tonight while committing just one turnover and five fouls, as a group.
This Purdue team is genuinely very good, and Indiana needed good planning and execution to put up a fight against one of the best teams in the country. Tonight, it got both, and Hoosier fans got to storm the court for the second time in two years against our highly-favored rival.