No. 17 Indiana readies for emotional game at Michigan St.
Trayce Jackson-Davis climbed past his head coach in the Indiana record book over the weekend.
They both will look to continue a climb up the Big Ten standings and national rankings when the 17th-ranked Hoosiers visit Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday night.
Indiana has won nine of its last 11 games to improve its Big Ten record to 10-6 (19-8 overall). National player of the year candidate Jackson-Davis has been the catalyst, leading the team in scoring and rebounding in all but one of the games during its surge.
Jackson-Davis passed Mike Woodson on the school’s all-time scoring list with 26 points in a 71-68 win over Illinois on Saturday. He’s now fifth in Indiana’s storied history with 2,081 points.
“I’ve been sitting in that spot for a long time, and for him to surpass it, man, it’s special. It just means the body of work that he’s put in over the years, but he can’t stop there. It’s just points,” Woodson said. “He’s still staring at two things — a Big Ten title and a national title, and that’s where I’m trying to get him.”
The latest victory didn’t come easy. The game was tied 67-all until Jalen Hood-Schifino made two free throws with 30 seconds left. Jackson-Davis finished it off with a dunk.
“We’re hungry, too,” Woodson said. “This was a separation game. If they win, they separate. Even though we’ve got a long way to go, this game was important.”
The Spartans (16-10, 8-7) lost to archrival Michigan 84-72 in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday night. The Wolverines finished the game on a 12-0 run.
“This was a game that I thought we played good enough to win for a large period of time and didn’t,” coach Tom Izzo said. “So that part will haunt me for the next few days.”
Michigan State was playing its first game since an on-campus shooting claimed the lives of three students and critically injured five others on Feb. 13. The game Tuesday will be its first on campus since the tragedy.
Izzo said his team delivered a strong performance against the Wolverines, given the circumstances.
“When you got a lead and you’re winning, you want it to be a storybook ending,” Izzo said. “You want it to be like, ‘Where’s the Disney director?’ ‘Hoosiers’ or ‘Rocky.’ Somebody’s supposed to pop out of the crowd and say, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to happen.'”
The Spartans didn’t score after Tyson Walker tied the game at 72-apiece on a 3-pointer with 2:29 remaining.
“It’s been a tough week just with everything that’s happened,” forward Joey Hauser said. “We’ve been able to just kind of rally together, stick together and lean on each other when we need each other most. That’s kind of been how we’ve gotten through it. But it’s definitely been tough.”
The Hoosiers know they’ll face a tough environment on Tuesday.
“I love Coach Izzo, and that place is going to be rocking,” Jackson-Davis said. “They’re going to play with a lot of emotion, a lot of heart. We’ve got to be ready. But sometimes it’s bigger than basketball. … We’re going to play hard and they’re going to play hard, and if we get one, we get one, but we’ve got to go at them.”
–Field Level Media