With less than eight minutes to play between Indiana men’s basketball and Nebraska on Monday night, junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis drove to the basket and left his feet for a layup attempt.
Jackson-Davis was leading the Hoosiers with 22 points and 12 rebounds, for the 30th double-double of his career, when Nebraska junior forward Derrick Walker undercut him on the shot attempt. Jackson-Davis fell hard, immediately grabbing his lower back and shaking out his wrist after he hit the ground.
“I don’t think he had a chance to really break his fall,” head coach Mike Woodson said after the game. “He’s young, he’ll be alright.”
He made his way to the line and went 1 for 2, but Woodson subbed him out after he hobbled his way down the court on defense and picked up his fourth foul of the game.
He came out with 7:36 left to play in the game and never returned for Indiana, but behind a breakout game from sophomore forward Jordan Geronimo, the team was able to close out and win its first road game of the season, 78-71. Geronimo shot a perfect 4-4 from the field, scoring 10 points and pulling down eight rebounds in the win.
“I see it every day in practice, he deserves to be on the court,” senior forward Race Thompson said about Geronimo. “He’s finding his minutes, and he’s going to keep finding those minutes if he keeps playing the way he’s playing.”
Geronimo led Indiana’s second unit after playing just five minutes in the team’s loss to Iowa last game. Sophomore guard Trey Galloway, who finished the game against Nebraska with 9 points and two assists, said before the game Geronimo grew a lot in the offseason and said the coaches have let him know he’s doing a great job.
After the game, Geronimo said his teammates’ encouragement helped him boost his confidence and lift him up when he doubts himself.
“Each day, I’ve been trying to get where I know I can play at, and as the days went by my confidence really grew,” Geronimo said. “If I go up for a shot, I think I’m going to make the shot now, that’s really all it is, is a positive mentality.”
Galloway, who missed 12 games due to a broken wrist earlier in the season, is averaging 8.3 points per game since returning in the team’s 67-51 win over Ohio State.
Despite turning the ball over nine times in the last three games, he and Geronimo played big minutes down the stretch against Nebraska to close out the game. Geronimo is averaging 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season.
“(Geronimo) was huge, I thought our bench was great,” Woodson said. “He might be earning some more minutes if he continues to play that way.”
Geronimo, who grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds earlier this season, said his mom played at the University of North Carolina, and she was a defensive-minded player who always told him to box out.
“She was a big rebounder back in the day,” Geronimo said. “I just got her genes, you know what I’m saying?”
While Indiana stepped up in Jackson-Davis’ absence, it will likely need him back if the team hopes to be competitive in its next matchup Thursday night against No. 4 Purdue. He took to Twitter to assure the Hoosier faithful he’d be back for the game, but it remains to be seen in what capacity he’ll be able to play.
Following the win, Thompson said Jackson-Davis was laughing and smiling in the locker room.
“It scared me for a second; he’s fine,” Thompson said. “We got a big game coming up, and I know no matter what he’s going to find a way to push through.”