ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Trayce Jackson-Davis has a short memory, and playing on consecutive days fits his makeup perfectly.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore proved once again that he's Indiana's best player, scorching a very good Stanford team with a career-high 31 points and six rebounds in the Hoosiers 79-63 victory, claiming third place in the relocated Maui Invitational on Wednesday.
It was a nice bounce-back performance for Jackson-Davis, who struggled along with all of his teammates in a 22-point loss to Texas a day earlier when they scored only 44 points. For a while, it looked like Jackson-Davis would get there on his own. It was Indiana's first 30-point game since Devonte Green went for 30 almost exactly a year ago against Florida State.
"We really didn't have any answer for what he did,'' Stanford coach Jerod Haase. "His physicality, his ability to impose his physical will on us, it certainly stood out. Obviously they dominated the game from the inside out, and we knew that was their game plan.
"For awhile we did a nice job, after the first four, five minutes we executed a little bit better, once we kind of saw it first-hand. But it put us in a hole that we weren't able to come out of. He's just a physical specimen that we weren't able to combat, and over the course of the game we were not able to stop him.
Indiana's players had answers. And they laid down the challenge to Jackson-Davis earlier in the day that they needed him to do big things against Stanford.
"I go up against him in practice every day, so it doesn't come as any surprise to me when he plays like this,'' Race Thompson said. "And when he doesn't have his best game, I hold him to the point where 'we need you. We need you tomorrow, and that's it.' I don't even have to say it, really. I can just look at him.''
Jackson-Davis has such a calm demeanor and an inner confidence that he didn't let Tuesday's performance weigh him down. He demanded the ball early, and converted often. He had 10 points in the first five minutes of the game, and the Hoosiers never trailed after that.
And what a difference a day makes. With little time to prepare, the Hoosiers adapted on the fly and did a much better job of moving the ball from side to side. That gave them good looks into the post, and Thompson even had a couple of nice assists on high-low action. Jackson-Davis was 10-for-16 from the field and 11-for-14 from the line. He drew 11 Stanford fouls.
"My teammates did a great job of getting me involved, and I converted at a much higher level today,'' Jackson-Davis said. "I was putting too much pressure on myself and not taking my time in the post. Today was the first game where I really just had fun and play with energy and passion. It was nice to see the ball go in, too.''
Indiana (3-1) led 31-26 at the half but then quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the second half. Stanford battled back to cut the lead to four at 43-39, but the junior guard Rob Phinisee his back-to-back three-pointers to put Indiana ahead 49-41 with 12:09 to go.
Phinisee picked up his fourth foul on the next possession, and freshman Trey Galloway, who started for the injured Al Durham (ankle), got his fourth just a few minutes later.
With two guys in foul trouble and two others unavailable (Durham and Joey Brunk, who's out with a sore back), Indiana needed to find a way to close out the game. They did it thanks to Jackson-Davis scoring 10 of their next 11 points. And when freshman guard Khristian Lander made two free throws, Indiana was up 15 with 6:04 left. Stanford never got closer than 11 points.
As great as Jackson-Davis was, he also got plenty of help. Thompson had 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and added eight rebounds. And Armaan Franklin had arguably his best game as a Hoosier. He played the full 40 minutes, and had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
He also completely shut down Stanford super-freshman Ziaire Williams, who is a projected NBA lottery pick. Williams was just 1-for-10 shooting, missed all five three-point attempts, and finished with only four points.
Indiana shot 64 percent in the second half and 53 percent for the game, a stark improvement from Tuesday when it shot only 23.9 percent and had only 11 field goals all night. The Hoosiers were 27-for-51 on Wednesday.
This has to be considered a successful road trip, coming away with two victories in a quality field. The Hoosiers, who usually fatten on "bye games'' inside the friendly confines of Assembly Hall most years, were thrown into the fire here, and they responded well.
Even playing a stinker of a game against Texas didn't phase them. They flushed it and bounced right back.
The next game is another tough test, too. The Hoosier travel to Tallahassee, Fla., for a showdown with Florida State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge next Wednesday. Until then, it's a much-needed week of practice, which will help a lot.
'It means something to them right now to win. They like playing with one another,'' Miller said of his Hoosiers. 'They like being around one another, and it's an easy group to be around.
"When you're in this type of situation in these tournaments, I've seen it a thousand times, you get exposed to a lot of things you weren't ready for. And for our team, we got punched good in the mouth (against Texas) and to be able to get back up and respond and get better and deal with it the way we did, it shows that it's what you're going to need for this type of season.''
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