Indiana evened its conference record with a 84-76 win at Nebraska on Sunday.
It’s a game IU (8-5, 3-3 Big Ten) led big early but turned into a slugfest thanks to a 19-4 run by Nebraska in the second half. But IU was able to overtake the Huskers and hold on, thanks in large part to 12 second-half points from Trayce Jackson-Davis. He finished with 15.
IU was led by Rob Phinisee, who had 18 points. Al Durham added 17 points.
As was the case last year, the Hoosiers didn’t have too much trouble scoring versus the Huskers. IU came out hitting 16 of its first 24 shots, including a barrage of 3-pointers. Phinisee and Durham were a combined 5-of-5 from deep during that stretch, including three triples from Phinisee.
Aside from an outing versus North Alabama where IU hit 13 triples, IU’s high this season was eight at Wisconsin last time out. The Hoosiers had seven 3-point makes on the Huskers at half. IU finished with nine 3-pointers on the night.
IU’s lead was as many as 18 points in the first half, but the visitors cooled. The Hoosiers hit just two of their last 10 shots heading into the locker room. There was also a scare with Phinisee, who landed awkwardly on his right leg during a late first-half defensive possession and came down grabbing at his knee. At that point, the junior guard led the Hoosiers with 16 points.
A two-handed putback dunk by freshman Trey Galloway, just before the buzzer, sent the Hoosiers into the locker room with a 46-34 lead. And, luckily, Phinisee was back on the floor when the Hoosiers returned for the second half.
Nebraska was able to tighten it to 49-41, but the Hoosiers responded with a 7-0 run, which included Trayce Jackson’s first field goal with 16:43 left in the game. He was 1-of-5 from the floor.
But a 14-2 run from the Huskers — hitting 7-of-8 from the floor during that stretch — cut the Hoosiers’ lead to 60-56 with just under 12 minutes remaining. A layup from Galloway broke what was nearly a three-minute scoring drought for the Hoosiers, but the Huskers held onto momentum.
After missing its last four 3s of the first half, IU hit just one of its first 10 to start the second. Nebraska’s Kobe Webster hit a triple to take a 63-62 advantage with 9:39 left.
Freshman Anthony Leal, who missed his first three 3-pointers of the game, hit one from the corner to knot it back up at 69-all with seven minutes left, and Durham followed that up with a drive from the top of the key to give IU the lead back.
Jackson-Davis, who had just three points in the first half, scored six points in the span of a minute to give the Hoosiers a 77-75 edge, but Nebraska cut it back to two points on a 3 by Teddy Allen we just over two minutes remaining.
Jerome Hunter then made an excellent hustle play. He missed a corner jumper, just inside the 3-point line, but ran for his own miss and laid it in to make it 79-75. On the next possession, Jackson-Davis stretched out an arm to reject Allen on a layup, pulled down to the floor by Allen on the rebound.
Jackson-Davis hit one of two free throws, giving IU a five-point lead with 45 seconds left. He was fouled again with 30 seconds left and split it again to make it 81-76. Durham had two more free throws to push the lead to seven.