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My Two Cents: Special Night in Jackson Household, With Records, Championships

While Trayce Jackson-Davis was setting an Assembly Hall scoring record with 43 points on Saturday night, his parents missed it all, instead attending his brother Tayven's state championship football game. It was quite a night for the Jackson family. "I told them, that's what you get for not coming to my game," Jackson-Davis said.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — When Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 43 points against Marshall on Saturday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall,  no one had ever seen that before.

Jackson-Davis set an Assembly Hall scoring record, breaking the mark of 42 points that Hoosier legend Steve Alford set way back in 1987 against Michigan State, nearly 35 years ago. Jackson-Davis was the first player to score 40 at the Hall since former Hoosier great Alan Henderson did it in 1994.

It was a sight to see. Or not.

Jackson-Davis' parents, Ray and Karla Jackson, missed the IU game, but for a very good reason. Trayce's brother, Center Grove senior quarterback Tayven Jackson, was having a memorable moment at the same time. He completed 12-of-14 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown as the Trojans won their 28th straight game to complete back-to-back unbeaten state title runs. He''s committed to Tennessee, and will be heading off to college after the holidays.

All parents know how hard it is to be in two places at once. Ray and Karla Jackson know that all too well, too. And being at Tayven's last high school game was a no-brainer.

Still, did they ever miss something special. Trayce's 43 points are the best of any college player in the nation so far this season.

"I told them, that's what you get for not coming to my game," Jackson-Davis said with a smile Monday when asked about what that night was like for the family. "I actually FaceTimed my brother right after his game and congratulated him. I'm proud of him. He's off to Tennessee at the end of the semester, and he's going to do big things there.

"For my parents, I was just throwing a little shade. I know they had to be there, because sometimes you can't be at both.''

Jackson-Davis made 18 field goals against Marshall, all in the paint. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, his 10 dunks tied a college basketball record since the stat started being recorded in 2010.

“Ten dunks for Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis yesterday in a win over Marshall. Finished with 43 points on just 24 shots. No player has ever recorded more dunks in a single game in the NCAA play by play, era dating back to 2010,” Givony tweeted.

According to NBA Draft researcher Jon Kepkevich, Jackson-Davis had more dunks in the game than 200 Division 1 teams have had all season.

Indiana is 6-0 so far, with a huge test coming at Syracuse on Tuesday night as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Jackson-Davis is a big reason why the Hoosiers are playing so well. He has bought in completely to Mike Woodson's promise back in April that he would make him a better player. There's no question that's happened so far. He's in better shape, he's quicker and mostly, he's more confident.

And, clearly, he is unstoppable in single coverage.

“When you’re talking to someone who has been in the NBA longer than you’ve been alive, I don’t really know how you can say no to that,” Jackson-Davis says in his faith in Woodson.

Woodson kept going to him on Saturday, with good reason. He couldn't be stopped.

"He's our best player, and I go into every game with Trayce knowing that he is going to get trapped,'' Woodson said. "He is our best low post player, so we try to design things knowing he is going to get trapped from different spots on the floor. It's just a part of it.

"When they didn't trap early, hey, I just utilized him. If they're not going to trap him, I didn't think nobody on the floor could guard him on the block, so we just kept spoon-feeding him, giving him the ball. Then when they started trapping a little bit right before the half, and he beat a couple of the traps with quick moves. When they started trapping, there were holes all over the place because he made some passes out of the trap across court, up top, back out to the guy that passed the ball into him. He can find people that are open, or can he make plays before the trap actually gets there, and he did a lot of that in the Marshall game. I thought he did it all.''

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Jackson-Davis easily broke his career high of 34 points, and this was far more fun, too. Those 34 game in a loss to Michigan State on Feb. 20 last year, the beginning of the end for Archie Miller, the first or that season-ending six-game losing streak.

The two games make a great comparison. Last year, Indiana blew a big lead to Michigan State — and then it got worse. That happened all the time. Not anymore.

Marshall, for instance, went on a 17-0 run in less than five minutes on Saturday night and no one even flinched. Indiana went on a run of its own and were back ahead by double figures in no time.

That doesn't happen last year. Or the year before.

"Coach Woodson is the guy that gives you confidence from the get go. Even when we were down 12 points, he said in the huddle, 'we're still going to win this game,' '' he said. "Teams in the past would have folded. Down 12-14, goes to 20 real quickly. They were just hitting every shot they took. We stayed right in there and fought back.''

Teammate Race Thompson marveled at Jackson Davis' big night.

"The biggest surprise to me was that they weren't doubling him,'' Thompson said. "But that's what he's supposed to do. He was playing one-on-one in the post and he was taking advantage of that.''

Jackson-Davis played 37 minutes Saturday night, including all 20 in the second half. 

"He played pretty much the whole game, and I rode him," Woodson said. "A few times in timeout, I asked him, was he OK, and he said, ‘Hey, I'm good, let me go.' So, we rode him, and we needed all 43 points."

As soon as the game ended, it was on to Syracuse. This is the Hoosiers' first road game of the year, and their first real national TV exposure. He understands the challenges ahead, and it's all about riding the ups and downs and attacking for 40 minutes.

"Right when we got into the locker room (after the Marshall game), the first thing that was on everyone's mind was on Syracuse," Jackson-Davis said.  "Not everything is going to be sunshine and rainbows. We're going to have some adversity. I'm going to be there for them (my teammates)."

Jackson-Davis has expanded his game this year, even though it wasn't necessary against Marshall. But he might need to knock down some mid-range jumpers against the Syracuse zone. The bigs play a big role in Indiana's zone attack.

"Just being a big in our offense, you've got to be able to be a playmaker,'' Race Thompson said. "Just making the reads when you catch the ball, and getting the ball to guys who are open. That's what it's all about.''  

Jackson-Davis will get plenty of attention from that Syracuse zone, and he will probably be doubled on every touch. And with good reason. He was ESPN's national player of the week last week, and he's proving that the preseason first-team All-American nod was legit.

And maybe the next time he faces single coverage all night at Assembly Hall, he'll get 44 or more with his parents in the stands.

"Exactly. Might as well.''

  • HISTORY AGAINST ZONE: Indiana guards Xavier Johnson and Parker Stewart know the Syracuse zone defense well, because they played against in a lot when they played at Pittsburgh. Both had huge games too, CLICK HERE
  • ACC/BIG TEN SCHEDULE: Here is the complete schedule for the 14-game ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with gametimes and TV information, plus summaries of the games played so far. CLICK HERE
  • 1,000-POINT SCORERS: Two weeks ago, Trayce Jackson-Davis became the 54th Hoosier all-time to reach the hallowed 1,000-point mark. Here's the complete list, and where he stands now. CLICK HERE