The offensive struggles for Indiana basketball have been well documented this season. From inconsistent shooting to half court ball movement, there have been numerous issues that have held Indiana back from playing a full 40-minutes — against any level of competition.
The inconsistencies were evident in the three game stretch starting with Auburn, then Kansas and Morehead State. Indiana lost by 28 to Auburn after leading by 10 early on. Indiana led for the first 35 minutes against Kansas before falling late. And then, it needed a 20-4 run late in the second half to take down Morehead State by one.
But, last Thursday’s game against North Alabama seemed to put some of the concern — at least for now — to rest. Why? The recent play of senior guard Trey Galloway.
In fact, the lone consistent part of Indiana over the last few weeks has been the play of Galloway. Whether it is scoring, defending or making plays for his teammates, he’s stepping up at the right time, and an extremely critical time for the Hoosiers.
“He had a good game. It was good to see because he’s had his ups and downs this season,” Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson said following IU’s 83-66 win over North Alabama last week. “But tonight (Thursday) he had a solid basketball game. It just hope he can build on that.”
His solid game backed up the two previous games in which Galloway played some of his best basketball of the year.
He had a career-high 9 assists against North Alabama, adding just one turnover. he also had eight points and three rebounds. He was 2-of-4 from the field.
Against Morehead State, Galloway had 14 points on 6-of-13 from the floor.
And against Kansas, the senior guard turned in a career-high 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting.
He’s has two of his four highest offensive rating performances in the last three games.
The best part about all of that is the ability to do it with the ball in his hands, giving Indiana basketball a playmaker on the ball.
“I encourage him to play hard, do the things that I think he’s capable of doing. I thought tonight he finally displayed that,” Woodson said after the Kansas game. “I mean, I don’t think anybody is holding Trey back. He had a hell of a game tonight. I was happy to see that. I just hope he can build on it.”
“I think the biggest thing for us was the guards to be aggressive ’cause we saw what they were doing to our bigs. They wouldn’t let them play. We had to step up and do some things,” Galloway said. “I mean, we were moving with pace, so I was able to get over ball screens, on the DHLs, get downhill. I had shots and certain reads.”
The recent surge in production was needed — not only for Indiana but for Galloway himself. In the five games prior to his recent breakout, he was averaging just 6.6 points per game on 34.9 percent shooting. He also didn’t make a single three and was just 3-of-8 from the foul line.
In the last three games, however, Galloway is averaging 16.7 points and 3.7 assists per game. He is shooting 58.8 percent from the field, 50 percent from three and has had two career nights over that span.
Galloway, who shot 46.2 percent from three last season is shooting just 26.5 percent through 12 games this season. He’s attempted 14 more 3s this season than he did through 12 games last year.
In the last three games Galloway is 6-of-12. Six of his nine made 3s this year have come over the recent span. In the five games prior he was 0-of-12 from three. Before his last three games he was just 3-of-22.
Not only has he begun making shots, the entire team has. Indiana is coming off of a single-game high in made 3s under Mike Woodson with 12 against North Alabama.
“Well, again, we’ve had good looks all year. The ball has moved some all year. Just got to stick the ball in the hole when you have the shots,” Woodson said. “I thought tonight guys were comfortable, they shot it. When they had the shoot they took it and they made it.
“But we had bodies moving. We set some screens. That helps, too. You got some good looks.”
That was a heavy result of the decision-making of Galloway. His nine assists were part of 25 as a team on 31 made field goals. It was by far the most efficient game for Indiana basketball this season. And, it was a full 40 minutes.
Galloway’s ability to maneuver screens and be consistent with his playmaking has now brought a new dimension to the offense in a half court setting.
“Trey is basically our only ball handler big-time on the floor. I thought he did a great job in getting us into our sets and getting the ball where it needed to go,” Woodson said.
Whether or not Xavier Johnson will be back soon, the surge from Galloway is critical in this team’s ceiling down the line. With his play now, it will provide another boost and some help for him once Johnson hits the floor again.
“Hopefully we can just grow from that and after the break come back ready and get ready for Kennesaw,” Woodson said last week. ” … a win’s a win to me because I’m always gauging based on how we play.”
Indiana basketball has one more tune up before Big Ten play resumes. It will take on Kennesaw State on Friday night and then at Nebraska on January 3.
SEE ALSO: ‘Getting his shot wherever he wanted on the court’: How recent workouts with Calbert Cheaney have helped transform Malik Reneau’s game for Indiana basketball
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