After an uneven start against the Musketeers on Friday night, Indiana needed a consistent presence on offense. Enter Xavier Johnson.
Late last season, Indiana relied on a steady diet of highball screen action between Johnson and Trayce Jackson-Davis to advance to the NCAA Tournament. So far this season, the Hoosiers haven’t run it as much. But with Jackson-Davis under pressure and outside shots failing to fall in a hostile road environment, Johnson and Jackson-Davis teamed up midway through the first half to steady the waters and keep the Hoosiers afloat.
We’ll take a look at four of these pieces in the latest edition of Film Session:
In our first game with the Hoosiers at four, Jackson-Davis puts the ball screen near the left slot and Johnson makes his move on a TJD re-screen. With Jack Nunge on drop cover, it allows Johnson to let off steam and use his quickness to blow past him. Nunge opens up as Johnson goes down, giving Johnson an undisputed score at the edge.
Good job here from Johnson using his speed against a slower defender.
On Indiana’s next possession, Jackson-Davis calls the screen near the left slot. This time, Nunge’s hard hurdles, which allow Jackson-Davis some space on the roll. Johnson immediately makes the pass, which means Kam Craft’s weak side assist comes in late and Jackson-Davis scores for two.
Smart and quick decision making from Johnson on this one.
A few minutes later, Jackson-Davis calls the left slot ball screen again. Nunge plays drop cover again this time and Johnson attacks him. Nunge fights much better on the rim this time, but Johnson absorbs the contact and scores, earning a foul from Souley Boum. The IU point guard would make the ensuing free throw for a three-point play.
High-level stuff from Johnson here.
Down six, Indiana runs the high ball screen from the left slot again. But this time around, Johnson ultimately chooses to run a decoy here, calling for a new screen but dismissing it by driving left on Desmond Claude and scoring on an up-and-down motion to draw the Hoosiers within four runs. .