Indiana pulls away from Kent State to advance in March Madness
Trayce Jackson-Davis 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 4th-seeded Hoosiers (23-11) advanced to play 5th-seeded Miami 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.
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 rival Purdue became the 2nd No. 1 seed in the tournament’s history to lose to a 16 seed when Fairleigh Dickinson pulled the stunner in Columbus, Ohio.
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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 the tournament.
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. A smooth baseline drive was next, followed by a spinning layup to make it 62-50 with 7:39 left.
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 working hard to limit Jackson-Davis. Thompson scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
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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.
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.
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Indiana: The Hoosiers have played the Hurricanes once, losing 58-53 in Miami in December 2001.