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Hoosiers Finally Snare Elusive Road Win After Taking Down Nebraska, 78-71

After four straight near-misses on the road this season, Indiana finally got the job done on Monday night at Nebraska, beating the Cornhuskers 78-71 for its first road win of the season. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Jordan Geronimo was perfect off the bench.
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LINCOLN, Neb. — You can say what you want about the opponent or the method, but facts are facts, and Indiana is no longer winless on the road this season.

The Hoosiers beat Nebraska 78-71 on Monday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena, getting 23 points and 12 rebounds from All-American candidate Trayce Jackson-Davis and great play off the bench from Jordan Geronimo and Trey Galloway. 

Indiana is now 13-4 on the season and 4-3 in Big Ten play. Most of all, they are now 1-4 on the road, finally getting a win on the road after frustrating narrow losses to start the season at Syracuse, Wisconsin, Penn State and Iowa.

It was the Hoosiers' first road win since Feb. 10, 2021 when they beat Northwestern in double overtime. That was a mere 341 days ago.

And it doesn't matter one bit that the victim was Nebraska, a team that's 6-13 overall and now 0-8 in Big Ten play. A win is a win is a win, and the Hoosiers will take it.

"Winning on the road, that's what's great,'' Woodson said. "This was a big win for us. We've played well enough on the road to win some of those other games, so it was nice to see us close it out, especially with our ace in the hole (Jackson-Davis) on the bench for the last seven minutes.

The Hoosiers scored the first five points of the game, and led wire to wire. They built a 10-point lead in the first half on several occasions, with Jackson-Davis scoring 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Their three inside players — Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson and Jordan Geronimo — were a combined 10-for-14 from the floor in the half, a 71.4 percent clip. Indiana shot 61.5 percent as a team.

But the Cornhuskers were pesky too, and kept hitting enough three-pointers — five in the first half — to hang around. Indiana led only 45-39 at the half.

It was the sixth time in seven Big Ten games that the Hoosiers led at the half, and the only time they didn't was at Penn State when they trailed by one. So it was on everyone's mind as to whether the Hoosiers could actually close out a game.

"We've been in it in all these (road) games, and it was just about finding a way to win.''

What was weird about the second half was that there were no long runs by either team. Indiana never stretched its lead beyond 10 points and Nebraska never got closer than four. Both teams just sort of muddled to the finish, unable to pull away or make it tighter.

“We cut it to four on a few occasions, but we just couldn’t get over the hump,'' Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We couldn’t get that big stop; we couldn’t get the basket to cut it to a single possession game. I don’t think we ever got there. 

"You have to find a way to buckle down and get that stop and make the right play. We had a couple plays in the lane to get right to the basket, and we tried to kick it out and turned it over. I think we had three of those, where we had opportunities. We missed a couple right there at the rim. You have to capitalize, and finish in order to get over the hump and win these games. You have to be able to make those plays when they present themselves.”

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The Hoosiers got a scare in the second half, when Jackson-Davis went down hard on his tailbone on a foul at the 7:54 mark. He left after the next possession, and did not return. The Hoosiers led by 10 at the time (68-58), but were able to hang on with Thompson sliding down to the center position and Geronimo playing the four. 

Jackson-Davis was able to run off the floor at the end of the game, and Thompson said he was laughing and celebrating in the locker room afterward.

"It scared me for a second, but he's be fine. I know he's going to be fine because we have a big game coming up and I know he's going to push through,'' Thompson said, referring to Indiana's matchup with No. 4 Purdue on Thursday at Assembly Hall. "He's fine and he'll be ready to go.''

The pair doesn't get to play together often — Geromino usually subs in for Thompson — but they did great work down the stretch. Thompson finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes of playing time and Geronimo had his best game of the season, 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting, plus two free throws and eight rebounds in a season-high 21 minutes.

"His offense is coming slowly but surely, and we already knew he can play defense and rebounds,'' Thompson said. "Those shots he made tonight, those are warm-up shots for him. He makes them all the time in practice, that was no surprise for us to see him make those today.

"Every time he comes into the game, he makes plays. And he's just going to keep getting better and better.

Geronimo's game has always been a work in progress since he arrived at Indiana last year. His skills continue to improve, as does his confidence. He hit three mid-range jumpers from the elbow, something he didn't do well a year ago.

"I give it all to my teammates and my coaching staff, just telling me to be patient and my time will come. They told me to stay ready. You don't have to get ready, you have to stay ready.

"It means a lot contributing and helping my team win. I was just consistent with my jump shot. It's improved a lot, and the coaches are constantly drilling it into my brain to shoot that shot when I get it. My freshman year, I was just trying to find my footing in college basketball, and as the days went by, my confidence really grew because I knew I could hang with these people. I have confidence in making those shots.''

It was a great way to start the week for the Hoosiers, because they have two home games coming against Purdue on Thursday and Michigan on Sunday. The Hoosiers have lost nine straight to the Boilermakers dating back to the Tom Crean era, and they've lost eight straight to Michigan. 

Indiana is 11-0 at home, and protecting home court is a big deal. So is finally ending all this talk about winning on the road. Geronimo and Galloway, who had nine points and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field himself, had a lot to do with that.

"Geronimo was huge. He made his shots and he was great defensively. That's the most minutes I've played him, and he might be earning more minutes, the way he played,'' Woodson said. "I tell you guys all the time that our bench is as important as our starters, and we got good production off the bench tonight. They were ready to go and were very productive, and helped us secure this win.''

  • LIVE BLOG: Relive all the live play-by-play of Indiana's win over Nebraska in real time, live from press row. CLICK HERE
  • PHOTO GALLERY: Here are two dozen photos from Indiana's win over Nebraska on Monday night in Lincoln. Check them all out. CLICK HERE