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Jackson-Davis and Smith lead IU men’s basketball to win over South Dakota State



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Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis shoots the ball Nov. 20 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. IU led against Princeton University in the first half, 35-31. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

The crowd erupted each time IU football’s Old Oaken Bucket victory against Purdue was mentioned.

When it was announced over the intercom and shown on the jumbotron was the loudest the crowd got. That was until freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis threw down an ally-oop slam with the second half winding down.

After junior forward Justin Smith stole the ball, he passed it up to sophomore forward Damezi Anderson. With Jackson-Davis running to the left of him and only one defender between them both, Anderson threw it up to the freshman at the last possible moment.

Jackson-Davis slammed it home with both hands and when he came back down, he flexed on the defender while screaming.

It was a dunk that capped off a 6-0 run for the Hoosiers to give them a 62-46 lead in a game that saw the Jackrabbits continuing to stay within striking distance. Throughout the night, the duo of Jackson-Davis and Smith kept IU steadily ahead.

“Looking at the stat sheet, I thought our team did a really nice job against their best two guys of holding that down and really the difference in the game,” IU head coach Archie Miller said. “Our rebounding, obviously from an offensive perspective, Trayce and Justin did a great job.”

Junior Justin Smith dunks the ball against Portland State University on Nov. 9 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. IU defeated Portland State, 85-74. Anna Tiplick Buy Photos

Jackson-Davis had his fourth double-double of the season and his second straight with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Nine of his 14 rebounds were on the offensive end which was more than the entire Jackrabbits’ team combined. 

He provided the dominant post presence IU needed with junior center Joey Brunk held to a single point and four rebounds.

The freshman also had four blocks on the night with three coming in the first half to help limit South Dakota State to 24 paint points compared to 30 for IU. The performance especially on the the glass wasn't surprising to his teammates.

“He's such a good athlete that it's, he has that advantage of getting boards over guys,” senior guard Devonte Green said. “He has always been a good rebounder. I wouldn't say it was much of an improvement, but that's what he does.”

For Smith, when he wasn’t playing his best, South Dakota State took advantage. But when Smith was running in transition and taking shots in the paint, he helped carry the offensive load.

In the first half, after Jackson-Davis blocked a shot off the backboard, Smith caught the ball and took it all the way for a transition dunk of his own.

The play gave IU the 26-18 lead and after that dunk, the Hoosiers never allowed the Jackrabbits to cut the lead back to anything less than eight points.

The victory over the Jackrabbits was the final time the Hoosiers will face a non-Power Five conference opponent.

With Florida State University and Wisconsin on the schedule next week, Miller is still worried about how his team is performing due to the 19 turnovers on the night. But for now, his team has an undefeated record which is the best start since the 2012-13 season.

“Without question, there’s just a little bit of that funny feeling that we’re not playing as well as we need to, we’re not as sharp as we need to be,” Miller said. “We got to take care of the ball a little bit better.”

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