Thompson, Johnson compensate for Jackson-Davis absence as Indiana rolls | Indiana University Sports

If you wanted a twist in the plot as the Indiana men’s basketball team worked its way through a week of mid-major opponents, you got a big one Wednesday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The No. 11 Hoosiers faced Little Rock without the services of Trayce Jackson-Davis. Indiana also missed Trey Galloway for the second straight competition, while Anthony Leal had his right foot in a boot after suffering an ankle injury.

How did Indiana get along without their All-American and part of their bench? Good, but it took time. Indiana won 87-68 over Little Rock and pulled away in the last 10 minutes.

Seniors Race Thompson and Xavier Johnson were the primary reason for this. Thompson had 16 of his team-high 20 points in the second half. Johnson had eight assists and seven points in the second half.

“Me and X got into a little ball screen thing like you see a lot with Trayce and X. You put me and (Jalen Hood-Schifino) in a ball umbrella? (Johnson) will do a play for you. It was really just playing X and driving me to pieces,” Thompson said.

After the game, Indiana’s coach Mike Woodson allayed any fears that Jackson-Davis’ injury was a long-term situation. The Indiana star has played wrapped with his right hand all season.

“We will continue to investigate him. He was hit physically a bit. It’s nothing important. We rested him tonight and hopefully got him ready for Jackson State[on Friday],” Woodson said.

Early in the game, Malik Reneau ensured Jackson-Davis’ rest could be stress-free. The freshman scored eight of Indiana’s first 12 points as his quality push ensured the Hoosiers would lead the entire first half.

Reneau’s quality boost turned out to be a pattern shared by the rest of the Hoosiers. Indiana enjoyed brief supernovas of excellence, such as a stretch for Jordan Geronimo where he scored six points and had a block to parry a Trojans run.

However, Indiana (5-0) also let Little Rock down. The Trojans, meanwhile, closed their lead to 22:17, and Little Rock did a good job keeping Indiana out of their transition offense.

A final breakout, a 7-0 run fueled by Hood-Schifino and CJ Gunn, put Indiana to a 37-22 lead, but Little Rock didn’t flinch. At halftime, Indiana’s lead was only nine.

Little Rock (2-4) continued to hang around. Indiana led 48-42 when another burst created another gap. This one was encouraging for the Hoosiers. Having only scored two 3-pointers up to this point in the game, Miller Kopp had two in a 12-0 run for 58-45.

Still, Little Rock didn’t flinch. The Trojans reduced their deficit to seven with 9:04 left.

Then Thompson – who played the second half with a headband after a first-half headshot – and Johnson took over. They scored five points in a 7-0 run that eventually took Indiana past a 15-point lead as they led 74-57 with 7-41 left.

After that, Little Rock finally capitulated. Johnson and Thompson scored the next six points together as Indiana made nine of their last ten field goal attempts.

Indiana was also much better in the second half from 3-point range, making 50% of his tries.

“I’m delighted. I can’t sit here tonight and complain about anything. It was a total team effort,” said Woodson.

Indiana has another brief turn as it wraps up the Hoosier Classic with a visit to Jackson State on Friday afternoon.

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