BLOOMINGTON – Minnesota came to Assembly Hall on Sunday with a strategy: pack the paint, take away Trayce Jackson-Davis and force Indiana to win with outside shooting.
The Hoosiers obliged.
Indiana point guard Rob Phinisee tied a career-high with four 3-pointers and scored a season-high 13 points, fellow point guard Xavier Johnson drained two 3s and had a team-high 14 points and the Hoosiers held Minnesota to 38% shooting on the way to a 73-60 win.
“Minnesota forced our hands in terms of shooting 3s, the way they sagged in, and they were just basically saying 'Trayce and Race (Thompson) are not going to beat us,'” Hoosiers coach Mike Woodson said. “When teams do that, our perimeter guys have got to be ready to step up and make shots. I thought they did a great job in that area.”
Jackson-Davis finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds. He had just four points in the first half as Minnesota (10-4, 1-3 Big Ten) forced the ball out of his hands. Phinisee and Johnson were left wide open and they pushed a one-point Indiana lead to 10 at halftime with three 3s in a 1:25 span.
The pair of point guards came in shooting 31% from 3-point range, but went 6 for 12 from deep in the first half.
“Coach (Woodson) really just builds our confidence, tells us to shoot it whenever we're open,” Phinisee said. “When I came in, I really just was shot-ready, and I knocked down the shots.”
The Golden Gophers roared back early in the second half and took a 47-46 lead after a 9-0 run, during which the Hoosiers (12-3, 3-2) missed four straight shots and Minnesota made four straight.
But the visitors did not pack the lane to the same extent in the second half and Jackson-Davis and Thompson got free for eight points, all from the paint on a variety of jump hooks, during a 10-0 Hoosiers run that left IU up 65-54 with 3:56 left.
Thompson, a Minneapolis native, finished with 10 points, five rebounds and a steal against his hometown team.
The Hoosiers didn't need much offense in the final minutes because the Gophers went more than six minutes without a point and had only one field goal in the final nine minutes against the nation's No. 2 field goal percentage defense.
“I call it winning basketball,” Woodson said. “When (you're in crunch time), you've got to step up and make plays. (Minnesota) came back from being down as much as 10 and took the lead. Our defense really picked up after that.”
Indiana is 11-0 at Assembly Hall.
Note: Indiana reserve guard Khristian Lander was inactive as a precaution because of a sore leg.