The marquee matchup started down low. Senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis against junior center Zach Edey, two National Player of the Year candidates battling on the big stage.
But for No. 21 Indiana men’s basketball to upset its rival, No. 1 Purdue 79-74 on Saturday, it took the rest of Indiana’s roster — and 17,222 fans.
“They were our sixth man, honestly,” Jackson-Davis said after the game. “That was the most electric crowd I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here. They did a great job, so props to them. They really helped us.”
On the court, Indiana had standout performances from three players — all freshmen — vital to Indiana’s victory.
While Jackson-Davis and Edey were locked in a battle down low, another clash emerged in the backcourt between freshman guards Jalen Hood-Schifino and Braden Smith.
Hood-Schifino rode into the game coming off an 1-for-14 shooting performance against Maryland on Tuesday, but his confidence didn’t waver. Hood-Schifino took his first shot just over a minute into the game, hitting the jumper with the same poise he’s carried his entire rookie year.
[RELATED: ‘Not your typical freshman’: Jalen Hood-Schifino is developing into Indiana’s next star]
“Games like that, your shot’s not falling, I don’t really look at it as a bad game,” Hood-Schifino said. “Some games are gonna have ups and downs, you’re going to miss shots, so you’ve got to find ways to impact the game. Tonight was one of those nights.”
Hood-Schifino entered halftime with 4 points and four assists before his scoring came alive in the second half. In the last minute of the game, with Purdue down 3 points on back-to-back possessions, Hood-Schifino asked head coach Mike Woodson to give him the ball.
“I drew up two plays to get it to him and he delivered,” Woodson said.
Hood-Schifino finished with 16 points, including a one-handed jam as time expired to ice the game for Indiana.
His counterpart struggled offensively. Smith ended the game with only 4 points on 1-for-8 shooting but did add six assists.
When Edey or sophomore forward Caleb Furst slowed down Jackson-Davis, they couldn’t stop Indiana’s other big man — freshman forward Malik Reneau.
[RELATED: Jackson-Davis' complete effort overpowers Edey and No. 1 Purdue, increases NPOY stock]
A month after Reneau was relegated to six scoreless minutes against Iowa on Jan. 5 — a game in which the Hoosiers lost senior forward Race Thompson to injury, putting their front court in depth trouble — Reneau was vital to Indiana’s success Saturday.
Reneau had just two fewer minutes than Thompson, who started, and scored two more points with the same number of rebounds.
Reneau was also among a bevy of players thrown in a double-team against Edey, helping Jackson-Davis and other defenders tasked with slowing the 7-foot-4 center.
“It was huge, relying on my teammates and our game plan, doubling the post,” Jackson-Davis said. “They did an excellent job in the first half, and it really brought us out to that lead.”
After working himself into foul trouble in the first half with two calls against him, Reneau played better defense in the second. He finished with 8 points and four rebounds.
His best move came halfway through the second half. With Edey defending him, Reneau spun past his man to tack on a layup and extend Indiana’s lead.
It took freshman forward Kaleb Banks time to find the floor, averaging just one minute a game in Big Ten play until Woodson called on him for 12 minutes against Ohio State on Jan. 28.
Banks’ energy and effort garnered him more playing time. Against the top team in the country, Banks played seven minutes, all in the first half, but his scrappy play turned heads again.
In limited time on the court, Banks had 4 points, three rebounds and an assist.
“We've got, I think, four competitive freshmen,” Woodson said. “It's a shame I can't play them all, but Malik gave us some positive minutes. Kaleb came in and gave us some positive minutes. Those guys are future guys that we're going to have to lean on.”
As time wound down in the first, Jackson-Davis missed a layup, but his teammates were there to pick him up. Reneau stole the ball from Purdue senior guard David Jenkins Jr. but fumbled the ball on the way to the basket.
Banks was right there, grabbing the ball and driving to the rim for a layup to give Indiana its 50th point of the game.
Jackson-Davis flexed his star power Saturday, but Indiana’s support — especially from three of the team’s freshman — helped push it to victory.
"Our supporting cast just played a little bit better than theirs tonight,” Woodson said. “Listen, they’re 22-1. They’ve been playing some damn good basketball, but tonight was just our night.”
Indiana knocked off a No. 1-ranked team for the first time since beating Michigan on Feb. 2, 2013, and the Hoosiers’ victory came in the first time the teams matched up with the Boilermakers ranked No. 1.
In Bloomington, those same fans that stormed the court after the victory are likely to carry the party on throughout the night. Within the locker room, it’ll be a much quicker celebration.
“This game is behind us,” Woodson said. “I told the guys they can celebrate for about an hour and then we've got to start thinking about Rutgers.”
Follow reporters Evan Gerike (@EvanGerike) and Emma Pawlitz (@emmapawlitz) and columnist Bradley Hohulin (@BradleyHohulin) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season.