Indiana men’s basketball put on a defensive clinic against Northern Illinois University on Friday night and moved to 2-0 this season with a 85-49 win at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Indiana held Northern Illinois to 2-11 from the 3-point line after it shot 12-23 from long distance in its season-opening win against the University of Washington. Northern Illinois finished 14-46 on field goals and scored less than 30 points in both halves against Indiana.
After the game, sophomore guard Trey Galloway, who finished the game with 7 points and three assists, said the team knew Northern Illinois could shoot well. He said covering up the 3-point line was a focus heading into the game.
“We were solid right from the start,” Indiana head coach Mike Woodson said at the post-game press conference. “I thought we did a great job on their perimeter play.”
The Hoosiers’ defense forced 23 turnovers, nine more than the Huskies’ 14 made field goals, and blocked nine shots. Junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis led the Hoosiers with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks.
Woodson said he was glad to see the Hoosiers put in 40 minutes of defensive effort after giving up 43 points in the second half of their season opener. Galloway said team leader Jackson-Davis’ effort makes the rest of the team work harder.
“I just thought tonight it was a total team effort,” Woodson said. “I thought everybody that played tonight gave us effort and did exactly what we asked them to do which is kind of nice to see.”
Jackson-Davis’ seven blocks tied him for fourth all-time in a game in Indiana history and the team’s nine total blocks surpassed last season’s high of eight in a game.
Other than leading scorer sophomore guard Keshawn Williams, who put up 21 points, Northern Illinois didn’t have any players score more than 6 points or make more than two field goals. Of NIU’s 49 points, 19 of them came from the free-throw line, where the team shot 70.4% for the game.
Indiana had its way on the offensive end as well. The team shot 48.2% from the field, 34.8% from the 3-point line and shot 76.7% from the free-throw line, where it took 30 shots. Senior guard Xavier Johnson scored 13 points — all in the first half — and senior forward Race Thompson scored 12 points, including 9 in the second half, and 10 rebounds — his fourth career double-double.
After the game, sophomore forward Jordan Geronimo said there isn’t a better point-guard duo in the Big Ten than Johnson and senior guard Rob Phinisee. The duo totaled 18 points, four assists and three steals for the Hoosiers on Friday.
“They both can do so many things,” Galloway said. “(They can) guard the ball, can get up and push it really fast. Those are some of the things I think we need this year because we want to get out and run.”
The Hoosiers’ bench put up 37 points in relief of their starters, led by Galloway and sophomore guards Anthony Leal and Khristian Lander, who each scored 7 points. Senior center Michael Durr made his first appearance for the Hoosiers after missing the season opener with an injury, scoring 2 points and picking up an assist in 10 minutes of play.
In total, 13 Hoosiers saw action with no one playing more than 26 minutes.
“I can’t promise minutes to anybody,” Woodson said. “I always tell these guys whatever minutes you get, you make it the most important minutes to help us win basketball games. That’s what they’re doing right now.”
Indiana improved to 2-0 with Woodson as head coach and will look to build on that record at 9 p.m. Wednesday when it takes on St. John’s University at Assembly Hall. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.