Indiana men’s basketball took down Minnesota 73-60 Sunday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The win moved Indiana to 3-2 in Big Ten play and 12-3 overall, all while keeping its undefeated home record intact.
After taking a 39-29 lead into the halftime break, Indiana allowed Minnesota to claw back into the game and take the lead midway through the second half. However, Indiana’s defense hounded its opponent down the stretch, forcing misses on nine of Minnesota’s last 10 shots.
“I call it winning basketball,” head coach Mike Woodson said in the postgame press conference. “They came back from being down as much as 10 and took the lead. Our defense really picked up after that.”
Five Hoosiers scored in double digits, led by senior guards Xavier Johnson and Rob Phinisee with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis also scored 13 points, with 9 coming in the second half after Johnson and Phinisee carried the scoring load in the first.
Johnson and Phinisee combined for 22 points in the first half on 6-12 shooting from 3-point range. The duo’s first-half shooting performance was a result of the Golden Gophers’ defense focus on taking Jackson-Davis and senior forward Race Thompson out of the game, which provided wide-open shot opportunities for Indiana’s guards.
“I knocked down those shots in the first half, and I feel like they weren't sagging off as much in the second half, so I didn't really get as many looks,” Phinisee said.
Jackson-Davis and Thompson combined for just 6 points in the first half, but they came alive in the second half to combine for 17 points and nine rebounds. Jackson-Davis followed up his 27-point, 12-rebound performance against No. 13 Ohio State with his sixth double-double of the season, this time with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Parker Stewart scored 12 points in the win on 4-5 shooting overall and 2-3 shooting from 3-point range. Overall, Indiana shot 9-24 from beyond the arc with ball movement leading to open looks for its perimeter shooters.
The Hoosiers totaled 17 assists on 27 made shots, compared to the Golden Gophers’ six assists on 23 makes. Johnson and Phinisee dished out nine assists combined. In addition to good ball movement, the Hoosiers only turned the ball over six times.
“In my opinion, the turnovers have cut down because we are getting more comfortable playing together,” Stewart said. “Guys are learning each other's games and being more poised with the ball I feel like.”
Sophomore guard Trey Galloway, who scored 8 points in his return after missing 10 games with a broken wrist, finished the game with 6 points, three rebounds and an assist. Galloway, Phinisee and senior center Michael Durr scored all of Indiana’s 21 bench points.
Indiana will hit the road for its next two matchups, the first of which comes at 9 p.m. Thursday against Iowa, which is 11-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten this season, in Iowa City, Iowa.
“We've got to break the ice on the road,” Woodson said. “I think once we break through, it'll open up a lot of these guys' hearts to know that we're here to play and compete in the Big Ten.