Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Kent State – Inside the Hall

Indiana advanced to the second round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament with a 71-60 victory over Kent State on Friday at MVP Arena in Albany, New York.

Here are five takeaways from the win over the Golden Flashes:

Indiana handles pressure from Kent State

Kent State’s defensive pressure and ability to force turnovers were the main focus for Indiana entering Friday’s NCAA Tournament game against the Golden Flashes.

Rob Senderoff’s team was in the tournament primarily because of their defense and ability to force turnovers, which was Kent State’s greatest strength.

With a freshman at point guard and limited ball handling on the roster, many wondered how the Hoosiers would handle the pressure of guards like Malique Jacobs and Sincere Carry.

After 40 minutes in Albany, it’s fair to say Indiana passed the test. The Hoosiers turned the ball over just seven times on Friday, leading the Golden Flashes by just eight points.

Kent State never went into transition either, scoring just three quick points in IU’s 11-point win.

Race Thompson arrives in force at a crucial place

Offensive consistency hasn’t always been there for Race Thompson in his sixth season in Bloomington.

The 6-foot-8 Thompson has struggled all season from the perimeter and his 2- and 3-point field goal percentages are down from last season.

But Thompson set the tone offensively early for the Hoosiers en route to a 20-point night. The Minnesota native scored 13 points in the first half and had two 3-pointers against the Golden Flashes.

On a night when Jalen Hood-Schifino wasn’t Indiana’s second scoring option behind Trayce Jackson-Davis, Thompson filled that role and more.

Thompson was effective 8 for 11 from the field and also added nine rebounds in 29 minutes. The Hoosiers were +19 with him on the floor, a team high.

“I’m just grateful to my teammates who always keep me locked up,” Thompson said after the game. “I’ve been beaten a lot this season, and if I can’t train they always tell me it’s going to be okay, just stick with it. I just thank my teammates and coaches for keeping me confident, for keeping me locked in even when my body isn’t feeling right.

Indiana Defense Locks Down Kent State

Defense first has been Mike Woodson’s mantra since taking over as Indiana’s coach in the spring of 2021.

The Hoosiers had the Big Ten’s best defense in Woodson’s first season, but suffered a regression in the second year as the offense led much of the season.

On Friday, however, Indiana put on one of its best defensive performances when it mattered.

The Hoosiers allowed Kent State to shoot just 22 for 69 from the field and held the Golden Flashes to 0.94 points per possession. Kent State’s shooting percentage (31.9) was the lowest for an IU opponent in 33 games.

“We knew coming in tonight we had to defend this team because they could score the ball,” Woodson said after the win. “I thought most of the time we were solid all the way, and we’ll need that for the rest of the way.”

Another dominating effort for Trayce Jackson-Davis

It was a slower-than-normal start for Trayce Jackson-Davis in Friday’s win, but the first-team All-American dominated the streak.

Jackson-Davis scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the second half.

His last line of statistics? 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocked shots and one steal in 35 minutes.

Kent State tried to make it difficult for Jackson-Davis to catch the ball for him and gave him different looks, but it didn’t matter. The IU elder was not going to be refused.

“You know, he missed – his first two shots around the bucket were close range that he just missed,” Woodson explained. “Or he probably would have gotten off to a better start. I thought he hung on, and he just let the game come to him because they were basically trying to keep the ball out of his hands.

Indiana passes first round of NCAA Tournament for first time since 2016

NCAA tournament success has been elusive in Bloomington in recent seasons.

The Hoosiers reached the NCAA Tournament last season as a top-four entrant, but were eliminated in the Round of 16 in a 29-point thrashing by Saint Mary’s.

Indiana’s goals were much higher this season as the players openly took on the challenge of being a Big Ten favorite with a chance to advance in March.

Friday’s win was Indiana’s first in the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 since 2016. The victory puts Indiana in position to also achieve a goal that hasn’t been achieved since 2016: a trip to the Sweets. Sixteen.

The Hoosiers will now face ACC co-champion Miami (FL) on Sunday at 8:40 p.m. ET for the opportunity to advance to next week’s regional in Kansas City.

Filed at: NCAA Tournament 2023, Kent State Golden Flashes, Race Thompson, Trayce Jackson-Davis

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