sports   |   men's basketball

OPINION: IU men’s basketball proves doubters wrong in win over No. 17 Florida State



spiubb120319-7

Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis yells as he scores a two-point shot Dec. 3 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Jackson-Davis scored 15 points and had eight rebounds against Florida State University. Alex Deryn

As the band played “If You’ve Got the Time” in the background, senior guard Devonte Green wrapped his arm around the neck of freshman guard Armaan Franklin as they bounded off the court following IU’s 80-64 victory over No. 17 Florida State University.

If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, it’s OK because you should be.

IU’s victory over FSU reads very similarly to its win over No. 24 Marquette University around the same time last season.

After a group of easy games in which IU looked good but not great, the Hoosiers came out prepared to play and executed at a high level as they pulled off the upset in front of a crowded Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The glaring difference? This year’s IU team doesn’t have any expectations that are even close to those from last year. In fact, people would have been generally happy if the Hoosiers got a passing grade on their first test by hanging with the Seminoles rather than acing it with a commanding win.

“We’re going to win with trying to take care of the ball a little better,” IU head coach Archie Miller said. “We’re going to win by obviously getting to the foul line, we have to rebound like crazy and that happened tonight in a couple of areas and we were able to pull it out.”

Through IU’s first seven games, the constant theme was if the Hoosiers could put it all together and actually showcase their potential on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

IU was never able to showcase its full potential against the far inferior competition it faced early on but somehow was dangerously close against a tall and athletic FSU team that already has a top-25 win on its resume against the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida who was ranked seventh coming into the season.

Junior guard Aljami Durham dribbles the ball Dec. 3 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Durham had two turnovers in the second half of the game against Florida State University. Alex Deryn

On the defensive side of the court, the Hoosiers played their best game, and it wasn’t particularly close.

In the first half, IU held FSU without a field goal for over seven minutes as it turned an 11-4 deficit into an 18-12 lead.

Throughout the first half, IU ran FSU off the three-point line — one aspect of defense it has struggled without throughout the early part of the season — and forced 14 turnovers.

The Hoosiers were finally able to stay in front of their man on drives and contest shots defensively — something that doesn't show up on the stat-sheet. Too often this season the IU defense has let its opponents turn the corner and get into the lane with minimal help-side defense to contest shots at the rim. Against FSU, the Hoosiers only allowed 28 points in the paint to the tallest team according to KenPom and recorded four blocked shots.

On offense, Green must have typed in the unlimited ammo cheat code he has tattooed on his arm as he carried the load for IU with a career high 30 points on 10-for-15 shooting while making five threes in only 28 minutes. But it wasn’t just the senior who contributed.

The two freshmen on the team made themselves known as forward Trayce Jackson-Davis showed he wasn’t just able to beat up on lesser opponents. He scored 15 points and recorded eight rebounds in a near double-double performance. Franklin showed maturity as he scored nine points and only turned the ball over once against a long and athletic FSU defense.

The Hoosiers executed with ruthless efficiency as they made 55.6% of their shots and a season-high 46.7% from beyond the arc.

While doing the bare minimum before its first test of the season, IU not only passed but aced it with the best grade in the class.

“We were going to have a great opportunity tonight with our crowd behind us to play in that environment," Miller said. “I thought our guys rose to the occasion of the opponent and were ready to play.”

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in Sports



Comments powered by Disqus