BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Archie Miller enjoyed seeing the Indiana Hoosiers offense work in almost perfect sync during the first half Monday night.
He grimaced at the second half.
Freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis scored a season-high 21 points, Al Durham added 18 and the Hoosiers overcame continual miscues to hold on for an 88-75 victory over Louisiana Tech.
“We were fortunate to be bailed out by some rebounds and some fouls and some free throws,” Miller said. “A team at home, up 23-8, you’ve got to find a way to put that nail in the coffin at some point. We didn't do it tonight.”
Clearly, the game tape will demonstrate what needs to be fixed.
But the bottom line: Indiana is 6-0 for the first time since 2012-13 and found a way to persevere thanks largely to Jackson-Davis. He scored 17 of the Hoosiers’ 36 second-half points, made four of Indiana’s eight second-half baskets and wound up 11 of 13 from the free-throw line. He also had 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
Without him, the Bulldogs might have come all the way back from the 39-16 deficit they faced with 7:29 left in the first half.
“I thought they were very sharp early on and we got ourselves in a hole we couldn’t dig out of,” Louisiana Tech coach Eric Konkol said. “It says a lot about our guys to keep playing extremely hard and just find a way. Proud of our guys for the fight but the turnovers that we had and the number of times that we fouled them and put them on the free-throw line really hurt us.”
Miller felt similarly about the final 20 minutes when the Hoosiers shot just 32 percent from the field, missed all six 3-pointers and committed 12 turnovers.
The cracks, though, started showing late in the first half when Louisiana Tech cut the halftime deficit to 52-36 then continued through the second half.
Two free throws from DaQuan Bracey with 11:19 to go made it 62-51. Several times, the Bulldogs had chances to get within single digits. Amorie Archibald scored a career high 24 points to lead Louisiana Tech (4-2) and Isaiah Crawford added a career best 14 to keep the pressure on Indiana.
But the constant parade to the free-throw line helped Indiana stay in control and eventually close it out.
“Second half, embarrassing really how we took care of the ball,” Miller said. “We weren't able to really play the game the right way in terms of how we moved it, shared it, free-flowing. It just became a dribble-fest, a turnover-fest and there weren't a whole lot of people in my opinion in sync. It was really hard to play the second half based on that.”
Louisiana Tech: After allowing 57.4 points in its first five games, Konkol’s team yielded 52 in the first half. But the experienced Bulldogs showed poise and grit and managed to fight their way back with a tremendous second-half rally on the Hoosiers home court.
Indiana: Miller said as good as the first half was, the second half was equally bad. The Hoosiers cannot afford to play so inconsistently when the competition ramps up over the next over the next two weeks.
Louisiana Tech: Bracey scored 10 points. ... The Bulldogs are 4-12 all-time against the Big Ten and 0-3 all-time against the Hoosiers with the three losses coming by margins of 21, 29 and 13. ... Louisiana Tech came into the game with the nation’s No. 20 scoring defense and had held opponents to 34.9% shooting, No. 17 in the nation. ... The Bulldogs were 10 of 25 on 3-pointers.
Indiana: Devonte Green made 5 of 8 from the field in his first six minutes on the court and finished with 16 points. ... Indiana was 28 of 38 from the free-throw line. ... Rob Phinisee took the night off because of multiple injuries including taking a shot to the face in Indiana’s previous game. Miller said he hopes to have Phinisee back at practice Wednesday or Thursday.
Louisiana Tech tries to keep its perfect home record intact Saturday when it hosts Samford.
Indiana closes out the Indiana Challenge on Saturday by hosting South Dakota State.