Indiana men’s basketball head coach Mike Woodson had seen enough.
Sophomore guard Trey Galloway put together a season-high 13 points in his first start against Northwestern on Tuesday, filling in for suspended senior guard Parker Stewart. That was enough for Woodson to decide to keep Galloway in the lineup against No. 17 Michigan State and leave Stewart on the bench in his return from suspension Saturday.
While the two switched roles, Galloway and Stewart both struggled mightily for the Hoosiers as they fell 76-61 to the Spartans at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan.
“Big time, they both struggled,” Woodson said. “I gotta find a balance somehow as we continue this journey.”
Galloway played every second of Indiana’s game with Northwestern until he fouled out with three minutes remaining, and the fatigued guard struggled to stand up as he made his way to the bench. Whether exhaustion carried over from that game or Galloway simply lost his touch Saturday, he left most of his shots short of the basket.
Galloway played 31 minutes for the Hoosiers on Saturday, but shot 0-6 from the field, 0-3 from behind the 3-point line and 1-3 at the free-throw line.
Similar to his role in the Northwestern game, Galloway played point guard after starting senior guard Xavier Johnson picked up two fouls midway through the first half. Unlike the Northwestern game, Galloway couldn’t get Indiana’s offense going as his teammates also struggled from the field.
“The other night, he pushed me to do this tonight,” Woodson said about Galloway. “He didn’t have much to give. I thought he tried, but he just couldn’t run it like I wanted him to.”
Johnson wasn’t the only Hoosier in foul trouble, as three more of his teammates picked up at least two fouls in the first half. The Spartans made 25 free throws on 28 attempts, which accounted for 33% of their scoring.
Stewart struggled from the field as well in his return from suspension. He came into Saturday’s game averaging 45.1% from 3-point range, but went 1-7 from beyond the arc against Michigan State.
“(Stewart) is a phenomenal shooter for our team,” junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis said. “He struggled today and sometimes that happens. We tried picking up the slack, but when you’re not hitting shots they start packing everything in, so it gets tough on us.”
Amid constant heckling from Michigan State’s student section, the “Izzone,” Stewart finished 1-9 from the field and 1-6 from the free-throw line. All told, Stewart and Galloway finished with just 7 points in 58 minutes combined.
While the duo’s shooting was a sore spot for Indiana, Galloway and Stewart moved the ball around effectively and combined for six of the team’s 14 assists. The duo assisted on 30% of the team’s 20 made field goals.
Neither Galloway nor Stewart excelled in their new roles, but their performances were just a fragment of what became a complete offensive breakdown for the Hoosiers. They finished 20-59 from the field, 5-21 from the 3-point line and 16-27 at the free-throw line.
“We just took bad shots,” Woodson said. “I think when you’re in the penalty you gotta milk possessions and get the ball inside. I thought the shot (freshman guard Tamar Bates) took and Parker took, not even exploring the inside, was two huge, bad shots.”
Senior forward Race Thompson and freshman guard Tamar Bates served as a pair of bright spots for Indiana. Thompson finished with a career-high 14 rebounds and went 5-10 from the field, while Bates tied his career-high scoring total with 13 points in his return from suspension.
Despite Thompson and Bates’ efforts, Indiana will head back home on a three-game losing streak to prepare for a matchup with No. 14 Wisconsin at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Indiana blew a 22-point lead when it played Wisconsin on the road earlier this season on Dec. 8, 2021.
“We can still control our own destiny,” Woodson said. “I feel good about that. I gotta go back and regroup and get them ready for Wisconsin.”