Quick thoughts on a 71-60 win against Kent State:
How it happened
It was a strong start for Race Thompson on Friday at MVP Arena in Albany, New York. The sixth-year senior scored five of IU’s first seven points as the Hoosiers jumped out to a 7-2 lead. After Kent State took the lead at 9-8 on a Chris Payton bucket at the 15:14 mark, Indiana took the lead for the remainder of the half. After the Golden Flashes got within three at 26-23 on a Sincere Carry 3-pointer, Indiana closed the half strong with an 11-4 run for a 35-27 advantage at the break. Thompson had 13 points to lead Indiana in the first half and Trayce Jackson-Davis added 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and a steal. Despite being outscored 9-3 in the opening 20 minutes on second-chance points, Indiana’s lead was comfortable because it held Kent State to just 10-for-38 shooting from the field.
The Hoosiers had a solid start to the second half and pushed the lead to 11 at 40-29 on a Thompson fast-break dunk. By the 16:10 mark, Indiana’s lead was 45-31 on a Jackson-Davis bucket. The lead was pushed to 15 points at 54-39 on a second chance putback from Malik Reneau with 11:57 remaining. The Golden Flashes got within 10 at 65-55 with 5:51 to play on a 3-pointer from VonCameron Davis, but Indiana answered with an alley-oop dunk by Jackson-Davis to claim a 67-55 lead with 4:09 to go. Another Jackson-Davis dunk gave Indiana a 14-point lead with 3:27 to play. The Hoosiers cruised from there to their first NCAA tournament round of 32 appearance since 2016. Indiana will play ACC regular-season champion Miami (FL) on Sunday in Albany.
Jackson-Davis led Indiana with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocked shots and a steal in 35 minutes. The five blocked shots set an IU NCAA tournament record. Thompson added 20 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes. Miller Kopp had 13 points and five rebounds in 36 minutes.
Statistics that stand out
Indiana had no problem generating offense against Kent State’s defense. The Golden Flashes had been giving up .96 points per possession, but the Hoosiers scored 1.1. And Indiana handled the pressure from Kent State. The Hoosiers turned it over just seven times for a turnover percentage of 11.