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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

‘Bright moments’: Jackson-Davis elevates in record books with triple-double in 81-65 win

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Assembly Hall is used to these kinds of nights now.  

The late-night Big Ten tipoffs, the nights when Indiana men’s basketball is a little slow but never out of control. The nights when senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis says, “I got this,” and elevates his game to a new level. 

What fans aren’t used to cheering for is Jackson-Davis to pass. Yet in No. 14 Indiana’s 81-65 victory over Nebraska on Wednesday, the Hoosier crowd erupted when Jackson-Davis dished the ball to junior guard Trey Galloway, who fought through a foul to convert a layup. 

After all, that meant Jackson-Davis had just recorded the third triple-double in program history. 

“It just solidifies why I came back,” Jackson-Davis said. “I came back to do big things, not only individually but with the team, too. We have high aspirations this year, and so I just continue to just play my hardest every game.” 

Immediately after the layup conversion, the Hoosiers converged on their leading man. He put up 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, adding three steals and three blocks to go with it. He’s the first Division I player to record a triple double, three steals and three assists since 2002, per OptaSTATS. 

These game-changing performances aren’t as necessary this year. Jackson-Davis has help he never had in his first three seasons, but another signature performance is never out of the cards. 

“Each year he's just gotten better and better, but the biggest thing is his unselfishness and his willingness to pass,” Galloway said. “That's a big part because he knows he can score, and obviously teams are trying to take that away now because he can score at such a high rate.” 

Jackson-Davis has made his career out of being the stronger player in the paint, bullying opponents for tough layups and hook shots. Opponents have caught on this season, bringing down a double-team any chance they get. It worked for Rutgers, which slowed Jackson-Davis's influence on the game despite him earning a double-double. 

Nebraska tried to replicate that success, but Indiana was ready. Jackson-Davis found cutting Hoosiers to convert layups and passed to wide-open teammates who drained shots from deep.  

“My teammates were talking to me and telling me I was playing like a true wizard, like the Wizard of Oz,” Jackson-Davis said. “Just overall they did a great job. I thought we had a lot of movement that we didn't have in our last game.” 

Jackson-Davis joined Juwan Morgan, who tallied a triple-double in 2018, and Steve Downing, who picked his up in 1971, as Hoosiers in the exclusive club. Entering Wednesday, Jackson-Davis's career-high in assists was six. 

“He's skilled enough to do the things that he's doing on the floor, and the fact that he's been double- and triple-teamed, he's got to sacrifice the ball,” head coach Mike Woodson said. “There's nowhere to go with the ball but to get it out and try to find open shooters.”  

At this point in his career, these takeover games aren’t only relevant toward Indiana’s record. Each night, Jackson-Davis climbs the Indiana leaderboard ladder and cements his personal legacy. His 12 points place him two shy of No. 10 all-time. He moved to seventh in rebounds and is now tied for fifth in blocked shots. 

For anyone in Indiana’s storied history, those spots are heralded. Jackson-Davis, the former Mr. Basketball from Greenwood, Indiana, who has helped the Hoosiers return to national prominence, is quickly becoming unforgettable. 

“Moments like that make it special to me,” Jackson-Davis said. “Especially when the times are getting tough, especially in practice when you're just down on yourself sometimes. Then you get bright moments like this.” 

Jackson-Davis will lead Indiana as it returns to the road and to nonconference play. The team heads to Las Vegas to take on the No. 10 University of Arizona at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in MGM Arena. 

Follow reporters Evan Gerike (@EvanGerike) and Emma Pawlitz (@emmapawlitz) and columnist Bradley Hohulin (@BradleyHohulin) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season.
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