After sophomore forward Race Thompson scored 10 points to go with four steals, four rebounds and two blocks in a win over then-No. 21 Iowa last week. IU men’s basketball head coach Archie Miller said postgame that he “emerged.”
Less than a week after the praise from by his coach, Thompson scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds as IU defeated Minnesota 68-56 Wednesday night to pick up its second road win of the season.
“He’s a physical guy," Miller said. "Per minute played, he’s a great rebounder for us.”
It was also a homecoming game for Thompson, who's from Plymouth, Minnesota. He had 20 people on his friends and family list to attend the game. Thompson said there were even more who bought tickets just to see him play at home again.
“It’s easy to come home and play because I have all the support from family and friends,” Thompson said. “It feels like I’m in a high school game playing basketball, which is a lot of fun.”
Despite Thompson's performance, he wasn’t the one who made headlines. Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis was the one to watch because he scored 27 points with 16 rebounds for a career-best outing.
Miller stuck with the frontcourt combination of Thompson and Jackson-Davis most of the game since junior center Joey Brunk struggled once again.
The two were tasked with defending Minnesota sophomore center Daniel Oturu. He scored 11 points and had 14 rebounds and shot 5-15 from the field despite leading the Big Ten in field goal percentage entering the game.
IU made an effort to get Jackson-Davis involved offensively while Thompson tried to slow down Oturu on the opposite end. Thompson had a career-high 25 minutes and led the team with a plus/minus rating of 21.
“We had a main focus tonight of getting TJD going early,” Miller said. “I thought Race Thompson’s minutes were unbelievable.”
When IU got blown out in the same building a year ago, Thompson made his return from a serious concussion and pulled down five rebounds in seven minutes of action. It was a performance that offered a glimpse into his potential.
In front of his friends and family, Thompson once again showed what type of positive effect he can have for the Hoosiers when he “emerges."
“Coming home to Minnesota means a little bit more to me, playing at home,” Thompson said. “It just gives me a little bit of adrenaline. My dad’s a known guy here. My brother plays football here. So this game just means a little bit more to me.”
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