Jackson-Davis leads Indiana past Kent State in March Madness
By RALPH D. RUSSO
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Trayce Jackson-Davis made staying up late worthwhile for Indiana fans.
The All-American did it all with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots and five assists as Indiana defeated 13th-seed Kent State 71-60 Friday night to reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016.
The fourth-seeded Hoosiers (23-11) advanced to play fifth-seeded Miami on Sunday for a trip to Kansas City for the Midwest Region semifinals.
Jackson-Davis became the first player since blocks became an official NCAA statistic in 1985-86 to have at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and five assists in an NCAA Tournament game, according to OptaSTATS.
“We’re not trying to hide how we play. He’s been the focal point of our offense, and he’s got to anchor our defense, rebounding and blocking shots for us,” second-year Indiana coach Mike Woodson said.
The last of 32 first-round games to tip off was played in front of mostly Indiana fans and their team delivered a no-drama victory to cap what was already a pretty good day. Earlier, the Hoosiers' in-state, Big Ten rival Purdue became the second No. 1 seed in the history of the tournament to lose to a 16 seed when Fairleigh Dickinson pulled the stunner in Columbus, Ohio.
The Mid-American Conference champs from Kent State couldn't muster any such magic, shooting 32% from the field. Sincere Carry scored 15 points to lead the Golden Flashes (28-7), who had won six straight heading into tournament under former Indiana assistant coach Rob Senderoff.
“It wasn't for lack of effort at all,” Senderoff said. “It just, you know, shots didn't fall.”
Well past midnight, Jackson-Davis gave MVP Arena a jolt with six straight spectacular points in the second half. The run started with a one-handed dunk, soaring down the lane.
“I finally got a little bit of a groove and had a big play, an energy play,” Jackson-Davis said. “Whenever that happens, my teammates try to get me the ball and they put me in great positions.”
A smooth baseline drive was next, followed by a spinning layup to make it 62-50 with 7:39 left.
“I thought he made about three or four plays down the stretch to put the game out of reach,” Woodson said.
Race Thompson matched a season high with 20 points for the Hoosiers on 8-of-11 shooting.
The Hoosiers had a 35-27 at halftime as Thompson took advantage of a Kent State defense that was working hard to limit Jackson-Davis. Thompson scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
Meanwhile, Jackson-Davis more than made his presence felt with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks, including a chase down swat of Jalen Sullinger's layup in the final seconds of the half.
“The big, Davis, he dominated tonight. So props to him,” Sullinger said.
Kent State: Its last NCAA victory was in 2002, when the Golden Flashes made a surprising run to the Elite Eight before being eliminated by Indiana.
Indiana: The Hoosiers played around a quiet night from star freshman Jalen Hood Schifino, who scored eight points while dealing with foul trouble.
Indiana: The Hoosiers have played the Hurricanes once, losing 58-53 in Miami in December 2001.
AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated March 18, 2023