BLOOMINGTON – Indiana was staring at a 10-point deficit moments before Devin Davis entered for his first action of the second half, stepping on the floor with 13:43 to play in the Hoosiers' 70-60 loss to Nebraska on Wednesday night at Assembly Hall.
Davis quickly showed why he was recruited and earned a longer look than the three-minute stint he got in the first half.
The freshman out of Indianapolis, who played in high school for former Indiana star Greg Graham, immediately showcased his defensive potential and unleashed a barrage of energy and hustle plays that helped the Hoosiers surge from behind (and actually tie the game).
Davis finished with seven points on 3-of-5 shooting, along with two offensive rebounds and a block. It was a bench-heavy lineup featuring Davis, Stanford Robinson and Evan Gordon – along with starters Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell – that made things interesting for Indiana.
Hoosiers coach Tom Crean was impressed by Davis' motor.
“He was a straight warrior tonight,” Crean said. “That's exactly what we need from him. He was giving up size and did a really good job. I think we'll be surprised if we don't even feel better about it when we watch the film.”
Ferrell said the team has impressed upon Davis to stay ready because he can be a key player.
“I know we can get energy from him off the bench,” Ferrell said. “Devin's done a great job. I like how hard he plays. He hits that offensive glass harder than anyone else. He carves out space.”
As starting center Noah Vonleh deals with ongoing foot problems, Davis may have impressed enough to earn more time as an undersized center. Only 6-foot-7 but with a long wingspan, Davis is more lean than thick. On Wednesday, Davis outplayed other options in the middle: Jeff Howard, Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Jeremy Hollowell.
For now, Sheehey just wants Davis to stay focused on the little things.
“He's always there to get the loose ball or at least attempt to,” Sheehey said. “He has to keep bringing that.”
GORDON EMOTIONAL: Evan Gordon came the closest to tears of the four seniors. At the school that didn't want him out of high school, the place where his older brother Eric is beloved, Gordon was standing at midcourt with a replica of his jersey in a case, speaking into a microphone that faced the five national title banners.
“I always wanted to play here, even in high school,” said Gordon, who transferred from Arizona State for his final season of eligibility. “I want to thank my dad for giving me all the talent. I want to thank the other seniors for welcoming me with open arms.”