No. 18 Indiana men’s basketball headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in hopes of snapping an eight-game regular-season losing streak against Michigan, earning a statement road win and taking sole control of second place in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers accomplished all that amidst an intense back-and-forth contest that came down to the wire, defeating the Wolverines 62-61.
Indiana got off to a slow start in the first half despite a highlight-reel performance from senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. He had a handful of dunks — including a powerful slam in the opening seconds of the game — to add to his first-half stat line of 16 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, who has delivered rollercoaster performances over the last several games, started cold offensively but settled in by the end of the first half. His 10 points and three assists were the lone complement to Jackson-Davis' early takeover campaign.
"I started off a little slow, missed a couple of shots, but I'm not the type of person that's ever going to lose confidence,” Hood-Schifino said after the game. “I'm always gonna shoot the ball. ... Mentally, I told myself just to stay in it."
The Hoosiers opened the second half with much more energy and intensity than the first, compiling a 7-2 run over the first 3 1/2 minutes. The senior forward and freshman guard worked their two-man game to perfection and Michigan had no early answer for Jackson-Davis' post play and Hood-Schifino's midrange game.
Jackson-Davis and Hood-Schifino's star efforts were especially important to a shorthanded Hoosier squad that saw action from only seven players Saturday night. Graduate forward Race Thompson — who is recovering from a knee injury — did not play for precautionary reasons, and freshman forward Malik Reneau compiled four fouls while helping defend Michigan junior center Hunter Dickinson.
Despite the scarcity of frontcourt options and an underperformance from Indiana’s secondary guards, the standout duo led a team effort that held Michigan scoreless for the final 5:12 of the game. Clutch rebounds by junior guard Trey Galloway, free throws from Hood-Schifino and suffocating defense by graduate forward Miller Kopp in the final seconds helped the Hoosiers gain and sustain a 1-point lead that proved to be the difference in the game.
Jackson-Davis finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 40 minutes, and Hood-Schifino added 21 points and five assists.
“I feel like we’re one of the best duos in the country,” Jackson-Davis said.
Even though the Hoosiers didn’t deliver a full team effort or dominant showing — leading for less than six total minutes of the game — they were able to capitalize off mistakes and execute down the final stretch to earn a plucky win.
“It’s the end of the season now,” Jackson-Davis said. “Ain't no time to be tired.”
Indiana will stay on the road for its next game, traveling to Evanston, Illinois, to take on Northwestern Wednesday night.