Indiana got punched in the mouth in their Big Ten opener on Saturday at Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights built a seven point lead with five minutes left in the first half that they carried into the break. IU rallied early in the second half and took a two point lead with 13 minutes to go, but Rutgers responded with a decisive 17-0 run to put the game away.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers lost with another edition of The Report Card.
No. 10 Indiana (7-1, 0-1) will host Nebraska on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
It was just a matter of time until someone forced Indiana to win from the perimeter. Leave it to a Big Ten coach to figure that out.
Rutgers was throwing double, even triple teams on post touches. And the extra bodies were coming from different places throughout the game. At times it seemed as if all five Rutgers defenders were in the paint.
“I thought we had some good looks, but teams are going to play Trayce (Jackson-Davis) that way, we get it, and we gotta make shots from the perimeter,” IU coach Mike Woodson said.
“We couldn’t throw it in the ocean.”
He’s right — Indiana didn’t make shots from the outside. They converted on just 6-of-25 from long range. That was their highest 3-point volume of the season. But they probably should have put more shooters on the floor and hoisted more attempts from deep, because they made more points per attempt from long range than their paltry 11-of-31 effort from 2-point range.
Rutgers switched defenses back and forth from man to zone. They picked up full court at times and trapped in the half court at times too. All of that seemed to have Indiana playing on their heels.
But the one constant was keeping preventing points in the paint — and it worked.
“I thought we had a good gameplan, and we executed it,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said.
Indiana scored a meager .724 points per possession. Their previous low for the season was 1.1. In fact, it was IU’s lowest points per possession since a loss to Texas in 2020. They had scored at least 77 points in every game thus far this season, but couldn’t break 50 in this one.
The Hoosiers also had their highest turnover rate, lowest free throw rate, and second lowest offensive rebounding percentage of the season.
It’s reasonable to suggest IU played well enough to win on this end of the floor. At least when it came to the Hoosiers’ first shot defense.
IU held the Scarlet Knights to 22-of-60 (36.7 percent) shooting, and the Hoosiers have held seven of eight opponents this season to under 40.0 percent shooting. Indiana blocked five shots in the game, the sixth-straight game with at least five blocks. IU entered the game ninth in the country with 6.0 blocks per game.
But while Rutgers was missing more often than not, that’s where it all went wrong. The Scarlet Knights had 13 offensive rebounds in the first 13 minutes of the game, and ended up with 17 that resulted in 17 second chance points. Their 41.5 percent offensive rebounding rate was the highest IU has allowed this year by more than seven percentage points.
“We couldn’t rebound the basketball,” Woodson said. “I thought that was the difference in the ball game. Our defense was decent, but it was just the extra opportunities that put them in the position that they were in. They just out toughed us, I thought.
“I takes effort to block out and rebound the basketball, and we just didn’t do that tonight.”
Rutgers scored .95 points per possession. IU won at Xavier despite allowing 1.11. But second chances and an inept offense together meant it was enough for the Scarlet Knights.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Watch: Miller Kopp and Trayce Jackson-Davis discuss loss to Rutgers
- Watch: Mike Woodson discusses loss to Rutgers: “We just got out-toughed tonight”
- IU basketball: Rutgers 63 Indiana 48 — Three keys | Highlights | Final stats
Trayce Jackson-Davis (C+) Jackson-Davis delivered another double-double and added four blocks. There was little chance of him having a big scoring night against Rutgers’ defensive approach, but he showed some poor judgment on some passes and dribbling in traffic.
Race Thompson (F) Thompson was a non-factor. He had more turnovers than points, and his 3-point shot has not been falling all season. Most concerning, his energy level just doesn’t seem up to what he’s capable of. “He didn’t play well,” Woodson said. “That’s something that I addressed (with him) right before I left the locker room. He’s gotta get better to help us.”
Xavier Johnson (D) Most of the shots Johnson missed were not forced, they just didn’t fall. But he seemed out of character bothered by Rutgers pressure on the ball, and that’s where most of his six turnovers came from. Moreover, Johnson had been rebounding at a high rate but had just one while missing multiple block outs.
Miller Kopp (B) If North Carolina was a game that didn’t fit Kopp, this one did — at least on the offensive end. With so much attention focused on the paint by Rutgers, Kopp was able to fill open areas on the perimeter and shoot the ball at a high rate. He was also 3-of-3 from 2-point range.
Trey Galloway (D) Galloway rebounded well from his guard position and was solid on the defensive end, but he mostly a non-factor on the offensive end as Rutgers shut down driving lanes.
Malik Reneau (C) It was a mixed bag for the freshman, but Reneau’s main issue right now is he can’t stay on the floor because of foul trouble. Indiana mounted its second half rally when Reneau checked in, and gave it all away when he checked out.
Tamar Bates (D) Bates struggled to make shots and had a hard time guarding Derek Simpson during a critical second half run by Rutgers.
Jordan Geronimo (F) It was a miserable return to his home state, as Geronimo missed all five of his shots and had no rebounds or blocks in 12 minutes. He had two especially bad misses in the paint.
Kaleb Banks and C.J. Gunn also appeared in the game
Indiana had 10 scholarship players healthy and available on Saturday. Jalen Hood-Schifino (back), Anthony Leal (ankle) and Logan Duncomb (illness) were all out. Woodson said Hood-Schifino will be evaluated “day-to-day.”
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”
- Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier
- You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
- Seven ways to support completely free IU coverage at no cost to you.