No. 8 Badgers finally ring in 2021 by hosting Hoosiers

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·3 min read
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Indiana doesn't have a lot of offensive firepower this season, but the Hoosiers are learning to win without it.

They have notched victories in their last two conference games, including a 63-55, grind-it-out triumph over Maryland on Monday. Indiana shot just 37.3 percent from the field but held the Terrapins to 38.5 percent shooting and out-rebounded them, 43-33.

The Hoosiers (7-4, 2-2 Big Ten) must now show that defensive mindset on the road. They'll play four of their next five games out of state, beginning with a visit to Madison to face No. 8 Wisconsin on Thursday.

"I think sometimes this team gets down on itself when they are not scoring or the offense is not going well. Sometimes that can hurt you defensively," Indiana coach Archie Miller said. "They let it play a role on the defensive side. That did not happen as much (Monday), which was good to see and guys kept stepping up and shooting. We had a couple go in that we needed to go in, which was big."

After scoring just 21 first-half points, the Hoosiers doubled that output in the second half. Trayce Jackson-Davis carried the offense with 22 points and also crashed the boards, grabbing 15 rebounds.

"He is a guy who has the ability to respond because he cares a lot. He was a much different player in the second half," Miller said about Jackson-Davis. "He had a big impact on the game. Moving forward, hopefully we can get him going earlier, especially around the basket. I think that is what frustrated him the most. He had a lot around the rim that did not go in."

Jackson-Davis is the team's main threat, averaging 20.3 points and 8.9 rebounds. He may have an even bigger burden in upcoming games. The team's second-leading scorer, Armaan Franklin (12.7 points per game), suffered an ankle injury and only played seven minutes against the Terrapins. His status for the game vs. the Badgers is unknown, and Rob Phinisee will likely pick up most of Franklin's minutes.

"For our team, I think it is a good opportunity for our guys to get in there and play," Miller said. "That is what is going to be needed here moving forward as we head into the rest of the season."

The Badgers (9-2, 3-1) haven't played since New Year's Eve. Their scheduled game against Penn State on Sunday was postponed due to coronavirus issues with the Nittany Lions.

In its last outing, Wisconsin defeated Minnesota 71-59 by holding the Golden Gophers to 31.3 percent shooting. The Badgers bounced back from a 70-64 loss to Maryland in their previous game.

"Defensively, I thought we were a step slow (against Maryland), didn't have the same juice, the same pop. Why, I don't know," coach Greg Gard said. "(Against Minnesota), we were much more aggressive in all areas, especially on the defensive end, and more connected."

The Badgers' top inside player Micah Potter led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

"Offensively, we got the ball in some pretty high percentage areas," Gard said.

D'Mitrik Trice is averaging 22.7 points over the last three games and has knocked down nine of his last 16 3-point attempts. He leads the Badgers with 14.2 points per game this season.

--Field Level Media