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The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

INSTANT RECAP: Indiana basketball bounces back, bests Minnesota 74-62

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Following a rough 66-57 loss to Rutgers on the road, Indiana men’s basketball returned Friday night to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall seeking a major bounce back effort against Minnesota.  

Behind a fast start and impressive play from freshman forward Mackenzie Mgbako, the Hoosiers took down the Gophers 74-62, moving to 12-5 on the year and 4-2 in the Big Ten. 

Indiana’s hot start came by way of back-to-back triples from senior guard Trey Galloway and Mgbako, who gave the Hoosiers an early 6-0 lead. With freshman guard Gabe Cupps starting in lieu of redshirt senior guard Xavier Johnson, the Gophers’ guards could hardly produce any offense in the early segments of the contest. 

The Hoosiers took an 11-2 lead less than four minutes in, and their quick pace continued throughout the half. In a stark contrast to its play against Rutgers, Indiana was keen on moving rapidly in transition. 

Highlighted by a Galloway steal and alley-oop dunk on the other end that sent fans into a frenzy, the Hoosiers were at their best, running the floor and creating quick buckets. Indiana gained a 25-10 advantage roughly midway through the first period and forced a handful of Minnesota turnovers. 

With Galloway and sophomore forward Malik Reneau sent to the bench with two fouls apiece, Indiana’s offense sputtered. The Gophers started to make a dent in the deficit, cutting the lead to 8 points with a little under seven minutes left in the half. 

Minnesota freshman guard Cam Christie drilled a 3-pointer to pull within 5, but a bucket from senior forward Anthony Walker and a triple from sophomore center Kel’el Ware immediately doubled the Hoosiers’ lead. 

Indiana went over three minutes without registering a point, and Minnesota junior guard Elijah Hawkins sunk a wide-open 3-pointer to pull the Gophers within single digits again. Mgbako hit a pair of free throws to extend the Hoosiers’ advantage back to 10 shortly thereafter, and Indiana headed into the break leading 41-31. 

After a relatively quiet first half, Reneau made his presence known early in the second period. He dished an alley-oop to Ware and followed it up with a tough bucket down low. Indiana’s lead jumped to 15 roughly four minutes into the half, with Ware notching 7 quick points. 

As they did early in the first half, Mgbako and Galloway again nailed triples on consecutive possessions to give the Hoosiers a quick boost. Armed with a commanding 21-point lead, the Hoosiers cruised through the remainder of the game. 

Indiana’s scoring efforts slowed marginally in the latter portion of the second half. Still, with four of the team’s five starters already in double-digit figures, the Hoosiers were able to move the ball methodically on offense and drain the clock while remaining in control. 

Still, the Gophers refused to go away. A Christie triple and layup from sophomore forward Pharrel Payne on back-to-back possessions cut the deficit to 13, and the Hoosiers entered into some trouble after Ware and Mgbako picked up their fourth respective fouls. 

Indiana was able to weather the storm, though, and a crunch-time layup from Reneau put the Hoosiers ahead 69-53. After a made free throw shortly thereafter, Reneau joined Ware and Mgbako as a trio of Hoosiers to tally at least 16 points. 

The balanced scoring effort paved the way for Indiana’s victory, and Ware put an exclamation point on the Hoosiers’ dominant outing with an emphatic block of Hawkins.  

With the win, Indiana picked up some crucial momentum as a colossal test looms. The Hoosiers host No. 1 Purdue at 7 p.m. Jan. 16 and viewing of the rivalry clash will be available on Peacock. 

Follow reporters Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Press (@MattPress23) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season.

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