What the hell was that? In an unfortunate display of basketball by both teams, Rutgers was less bad.
Indiana had a seven point lead midway through the first half. But Rutgers outscored the Hoosiers 17-7 the rest of the way as IU went on a six minutes scoring drought as they cycled through their substitutions. Things remained close early in the second half, but a 12-0 run by the Scarlet Knights made it 51-38 with 6:32 remaining — and that was too much for Indiana.
Let’s take a deeper look at how IU lost 66-57 with another edition of The Report Card.
Indiana (11-5, 3-2) will next host Minnesota on Friday evening.
In what was one of the more bizarre stats we’ve seen in a basketball game in quite some time, IU made just 4-of-15 free throws. That’s just 26.7 percent, from the free throw line. The Hoosiers missed more freebies than the final margin of the game.
“If I had a magic pill I could give ’em about making free throws, I would,” IU coach Mike Woodson said. “It’s all mental. … When you get fouled and get to the line, they’re free. So you should feel good about yourself and go up and knock them down.”
But Indiana didn’t knock them down, and they also didn’t take care of the basketball. The Hoosiers gave it away 18 times, the third time in the last four games they’ve reached that number of miscues. For a team struggling to make shots, IU couldn’t afford to keep giving the ball away. And Rutgers made them pay with 18 points off the turnovers.
With Rutgers pressuring and trapping the ball and doubling the post, their best opportunity to win this game was making 3-pointers. But the Hoosiers started the contest just 4-of-19 (21 percent) before making a few more in the final three minutes when the game was decided.
Doomed by poor shooting and turnovers, IU produced a season-low .76 points per possession.
Let’s be clear, Indiana played well enough to win on this end of the floor.
But let’s also point out, you can play good half court defense and still lose if your offense commits 18 turnovers, many of which led to transition opportunities going the other way — and also if you give up 19 offense rebounds.
That latter point clearly implicates the defense as Indiana is simply not finishing possessions. They’ve now given up 41 offensive rebounds over the last two games, and have had six games this season when they allowed 13 or more. And Rutgers’ 12 second chance points were again more than the margin of the final score.
The average height of Indiana’s rotation is the third tallest in the nation, so it’s a difficult to comprehend how things are this bad. For the season IU ranks No. 226 in allowing offensive rebounds.
“It’s something we’ve gotta clean up,” Woodson said.
Indiana held Rutgers to 5-of-22 (22.7%) from beyond the arc. That was their second best effort of the season guarding the 3-point shot. The Scarlet Knights aren’t a good shooting team, but IU held them under their averages by a wide margin. They shot just 32.3 percent overall for the game, and they committed 15 turnovers of their own. All of those numbers suggest Indiana blew a golden opportunity with poor play on the other end.
Rutgers scored just .88 points per possession, the second best effort of the season by Indiana.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Indiana’s recurring issues and inconsistency prove costly against Rutgers
- Watch: Mike Woodson and Malik Reneau discuss loss at Rutgers
- IU basketball: Rutgers 66 Indiana 57 — Three keys, highlights, final stats
- Extended highlights:
*Trey Galloway (C) It’s getting to the point where you feel for Galloway. He isn’t making anything but layups. Again, that overshadows a five assist to two turnover night, along with three steals.
*Mackenzie Mgbako (C) This was clearly going to be a game where Mgbako got quality looks, and relative to his teammates, he made some of them. Mgbako was steadier on defense in this one, but he continues to make head-scratching decisions, like a late-game flagrant foul where he grabbed a player with both hands.
*Malik Reneau (B-) Reneau put up seven assists to go with his 13 points, six rebounds, a block and a steal. Rutgers emphasized limiting his touches, and they double teamed so he couldn’t attack over his right shoulder. Reneau is still forcing the ball into traffic too much.
*Xavier Johnson (F) Let’s be clear — Johnson let his teammates down with a stupid decision. These are the heat of the moment instances that have crept up throughout his career. And even before he was ejected, Johnson wasn’t playing well.
*Kel’el Ware (B-) You don’t grab 17 rebounds on low energy. And he added three blocks. But Ware missed point blank attempts in the paint where it seemed he needed to be more physical, and like Reneau, Rutgers limited his touches.
C.J. Gunn (B) Gunn came in a made a couple more threes, which should only help his confidence. He was clearly engaged on the defensive end, and he was the only Hoosier who saw meaningful minutes who didn’t commit a turnover.
Rest of Bench (D) — Anthony Walker, Gabe Cupps, Payton Sparks, Kaleb Banks, and Anthony Leal all appeared in the game briefly. The bench was a major detriment. Most of the Scarlet Knights big runs came when Indiana’s lineup was heavily influenced by the bench.
Jakai Newton (knee) is out long-term.
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