Graduate transfer Joey Brunk scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Indiana Hoosiers’ (19-11) 72-67 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-16) at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 4. The win completed a season sweep of Minnesota. IU beat the Golden Gophers 68-56 on the road on February 19.
Brunk, who transferred from the Butler Bulldogs in the offseason, scored on a layup to give the Cream and Crimson a 56-54 lead with 7:59 left in the second half. Moments later, he padded IU’s lead with a three-foot jumper.
With IU in front, 65-60, junior guard Al Durham’s layup and Brunk’s short jumper iced the game for the Hoosiers with 1:48 left to play.
It was a nice vindication game for Brunk, whose last double-digit scoring game was a 14-point performance in the Hoosiers’ 67-63 upset of the 11th-ranked Michigan State Spartans on January 23.
More importantly, Brunk played lockdown defense on Minnesota’s star sophomore center, Daniel Oturu. The latter averages 20.3points per game and shoots 56.2 percent from the field.
While Oturu led the Golden Gophers with 24 points, he missed 16 of his 27 field-goal attempts with Brunk in his face on virtually every possession.
A balanced scoring attack gave IU an early 15-8 lead. The Hoosiers established their first double-digit lead of the game when senior guard Devonte Green’s layup made it 25-15.
However, Minnesota went on a 19-7 run to take a 34-32 lead at halftime. The Golden Gophers relied on three-point shooting from Payton Willis and Isaiah Ihnen to keep IU at bay.
The second half was a nip-and-tuck affair until the decisive run which Brunk sparked late in the game.
Freshman recruit Trayce Jackson-Davis shook off the effects of a sore foot to score 18 points and grab nine rebounds. Durham and Rob Phinisee each scored 11 points while Justin Smith contributed 10 points for IU.
Sophomore guard Gabe Kalscheur was the only other Minnesota player in double digits with 14 points. The Golden Gophers lost their third straight game and six of their last seven.
IU Hoosiers Sputter in End Game to Wisconsin Badgers
The Indiana Hoosiers (19-12) were mere minutes away from their sixth win over a ranked opponent this season. Instead, the 24th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (21-10) picked the right time to heat up in a 60-56 win over IU at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 7. The win clinched a share of the Big Ten Conference title for the visiting Badgers.
Behind the exploits of senior guard Devonte Green, who led IU with 16 points (all in the first half), the Hoosiers had a 28-25 lead at halftime.
Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson scored 11 of Indiana’s first 23 points of the second half. Thompson’s two free throws gave the Cream and Crimson a 51-44 lead with 6:52 remaining in the game. It seemed head men’s basketball coach Archie Miller was in a good position to secure his first 20-win season in Bloomington.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin uncorked a 12-0 run to seize momentum for good. During that spurt, Nate Reuvers, D’Mitrik Trice, Micah Potter, and Brad Davison scored to give the Badgers a 56-51 lead with 1:18 left. The Wisconsin defense also forced Indiana to hoist 12 consecutive ill-advised shots in the game’s waning moments.
Despite their third loss in their past four games, the Hoosiers can still clinch a spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Reuvers led Wisconsin with 17 points. Potter scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Aleem Ford and Davison scored 12 points and 11 points, respectively, for the Badgers.
Green was the only IU player in double digits. Durham contributed nine points while Justin Smith and Thompson each scored 17 points for IU.
Hoosiers Odds Trend Up Against Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament kicks off on March 11. The 11th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers (19-12) will square off against the 14th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-24) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
On paper, it seems like an easy assignment for IU – the Cornhuskers are the worst team in the Big Ten Conference. Nebraska has won just two of 20 games against Big Ten opposition.
Moreover, Indiana swept the season series against Nebraska. The Hoosiers, a below average road team (2-8 on the road) also won their first game away from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at Nebraska on January 19.
Nonetheless, Indiana must put the clamps on Haanif Cheatham (12.8 ppg), Dachon Burke, Jr. (12.2 ppg), and Cam Mack (12.0 ppg) to ensure a victory on Wednesday.
For their part, the Hoosiers must get big productions from Trayce Jackson-Davis (13.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg), Devonte Green (10.8 ppg), and Justin Smith (10.4 ppg) so they can advance to the next round against the sixth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions.
Hoosiers odds, Hoosiers over/under, and Hoosiers moneyline should trend up against Nebraska because of IU’s superior record.