Trayce Jackson-Davis did it all with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots and five assists as Indiana defeated 13th-seeded Kent State 71-60 on Friday night to reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time. since 2016.
The fourth-seeded Hoosiers (23-11) advanced to play Sunday’s fifth-seeded Miami 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 the 32 first-round games to start was played in front of the majority of Indiana fans and their team pulled off a non-dramatic victory to cap off what was already a pretty good day. Earlier, the Hoosiers’ in-state rival Purdue became the second No. 1 seed in tournament history to lose to a 16th seed when Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off the upset in Columbus, Ohio.
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Mid-American Conference champion 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 before the tournament.
Well past midnight, Jackson-Davis shook up MVP Arena with a spectacular six straight points in the second half. The run started with a one-handed dunk, flying down the lane. Next was a smooth drive from the baseline, followed by a spinning layup to make it 62-50 with 7:39 remaining.
Race Thompson matched a season high with 20 points for the Hoosiers on 8-for-11 shooting.
The Hoosiers were 35-27 at halftime when Thompson took advantage of a Kent State defense that worked hard to limit Jackson-Davis. Thompson scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
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Meanwhile, Jackson-Davis made more than his presence felt with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks, including a chasing shot from Jalen Sullinger on a layup in the closing seconds of the half.
Kent State: Their last NCAA victory was in 2002, when the Golden Flashes made an amazing run to the Elite Eight before being eliminated by Indiana.
Indiana: The Hoosiers played a quiet night with 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.