BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Trayce Jackson-Davis had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Xavier Johnson scored 20 points and No. 10 Indiana beat No. 18 North Carolina 77-65 on Wednesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
The Hoosiers (7-0) produced their most impressive win of the season two days after cracking the top 10 for the first time since 2017 and exactly six years since beating a Tar Heels team that went on to win the national title.
Pete Nance had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead North Carolina (5-3), the preseason No. 1 that has lost three straight for the first time since the 2019-20 season. Caleb Love scored 13 points.
The Tar Heels were not themselves after playing three games in four days last weekend in Portland, Oregon, and losing Sunday to No. 18 Alabama in quadruple overtime. Then came a cross-country trip to Indiana.
While some fatigue was evident in North Carolina’s poor shooting, the Hoosiers still put on a defensive performance that would have made former coach Bob Knight proud. One day after Knight watched the Hoosiers practice, the Tar Heels were 8 of 28 from the field in the first half and opened the second half 1 of 7.
The result: Indiana made the final 27 1/2 minutes look relatively easy.
It used a 7-0 first half run to start pulling away. After Puff Johnson briefly halted it with two free throws, the Hoosiers scored six straight to make it 34-24.
North Carolina cut the deficit to 35-29 at the half, but Indiana opened the second with an 11-2 charge to take a 46-31 lead with 15:59 to go and the Tar Heels couldn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way.
Jackson-Davis got the better of Armando Bacot in a matchup of preseason All-Americans.
Bacot came into the game with an injured right ankle and went to the locker room briefly after hurting his right shoulder just 3 1/2 minutes into the game. When Bacot returned, he battled foul trouble and struggled with his shooting touch as he scored four points in the first half.
He added tape to the shoulder at halftime and finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 4 of 10.
North Carolina: Last year’s national runner-up hasn’t lived up to expectations over the last week. Is it injuries? Could it be the grueling schedule? Whatever the explanation, this team is too talented to have lost three straight. Coach Hubert Davis needs to find a solution before Atlantic Coast Conference play begins in earnest.
Indiana: The Hoosiers had serious foul trouble and still found a way to finish. It’s a reflection of how much depth coach Mike Woodson has created in just two seasons. In a league that had a strong November, the Hoosiers are one of the Big Ten’s true contenders.
Indiana students didn’t wait until the official line began forming Wednesday afternoon. Some spent Tuesday night camped out on a chilly, windy night across the street from Assembly Hall to make sure they’d be among the first into the arena.
Three hours before tipoff, the line wound from the student entrance around the front of Assembly Hall and down the side of Indiana’s practice facility with students lined up five or more wide. By the time the game started, almost every seat was filled with a fan wearing a white shirt.
They weren’t the only people eager to get in. All 30 NBA teams had representatives at the game.
North Carolina: Completes a five-game stretch away from Chapel Hill on Sunday at ACC foe Virginia Tech.
Indiana: Opens Big Ten play at Rutgers on Saturday.