Indiana men’s basketball took down the University of Notre Dame 64-56 in the final iteration of the Crossroads Classic on Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Indiana improved to 9-2 with the win, its first away from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall this season.
Notre Dame led for most of the first half and jumped out to an 8-point lead at one point, but Indiana’s defense tightened up in the second half, forcing six turnovers over six minutes near the end of the second half.
Missing their leading bench scorer freshman guard Tamar Bates, the Hoosiers relied on their starting lineup for the bulk of their points against the Irish. The bench unit scored just 8 points — 6 from senior guard Rob Phinisee and 2 from sophomore forward Jordan Geronimo. Phinisee also finished with five assists and five rebounds.
“He gave us a huge lift," head coach Mike Woodson said at the postgame press conference. “I need Rob in the worst way. I have to get Rob to believe he can do things.”
Junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way and secured his 26th career double-double, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocks on 6-12 shooting.
Senior guard Parker Steward scored 12 points for the Hoosiers on 3-4 shooting from 3-point range. Stewart improved his 3-point percentage to 49% this season with a 27-55 mark through 11 games. He’s only attempted 10 2-pointers compared to 55 attempts from beyond the arc.
“We know when he is out on the floor where he is at all times,” Jackson-Davis said. “For some reason other teams leave him."
Senior forward Race Thompson finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists on 4-4 shooting. Going back to the team’s last game, Thompson has made his last 10 field-goal attempts.
Indiana’s defense stifled its opponent yet again as it forced Notre Dame to shoot just 36% from the field and 18% from 3-point range in the game. Indiana forced Notre Dame into three shot-clock violations. The Hoosiers finished with five blocks and five steals and held the Irish to 0.836 points per possession.
"I think our defense is what kept us in the game,” Jackson-Davis said. “I think our defense is going to keep us in a lot of games."
Both teams finished with 14 turnovers, and Indiana led 16-14 in points off turnovers.
On the offensive end, the Hoosiers used solid ball movement to create a majority of its chances. Of their 21 made field goals, 16 came off of assists, including nine of 10 field goals in the second half.
"I thought offensively we moved the ball in spurts and when we did, good things happened for us,” Woodson said.
Overall, the Hoosiers shot 44% from the field and 8-20 from 3-point range. After the game, Woodson said he’s fine with his players taking open jump shots, but he doesn’t want them to get away from their game plan.
"I do not want to be a team that lives on 3-point shots,” Woodson said. “I think our strength is playing inside-out and I don't want to stray away from that."
Indiana will head back to Bloomington for its next matchup at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Northern Kentucky University at Assembly Hall. Northern Kentucky is 4-5 this season.