Ding dong, Rutgers is dead. Okay, not really, but Indiana snapped a six-game losing streak to Rutgers on Tuesday evening in Bloomington and won their seventh game in eight tries in the process.
The Hoosiers started fast, and jumped out to a 30-16 lead with 7:54 left in the first half. But the gritty Scarlet Knights responded. They cut the lead to 38-35 by halftime, and they were within one early in the second half. IU never relinquished the lead, and pulled back out to a 10-point edge, only to see Rutgers come as close as 59-56 with less than three minutes remaining before Indiana closed things out.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won 66-60 with another edition of The Report Card.
Indiana (17-7, 8-5) will next face Michigan on Saturday at 6 p.m. Eastern in Ann Arbor.
Indiana was carving up an elite Rutgers defense in the first half. They scored 30 points in the first 12 minutes and had the Scarlet Knights on their heels.
With so many eyes focused on Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana was able to get some back-cuts to the rim and open perimeter looks. They also got transition opportunities from their defense and by attacking the press. And sometimes Jackson-Davis was just too good.
The constant in both halves was open looks for Miller Kopp, something he doesn’t normally see. His two highest scoring games this year have come against Rutgers, and their head coach Steve Pikiell had a simple answer for why — “Trayce Jackson-Davis,” he said.
Rutgers had five in the paint area surrounding Jackson-Davis at times, and to his credit, Kopp was ready.
“I knew kind of like coming into the game how their wings and stuff guard off the ball and kind of looking at last game’s film, how they guarded Trayce and kind of finding where the gaps are in the defense, especially when Trayce has the ball in the post, I’m always trying to move and get in his line of vision, and when we lock eyes, I know it’s coming,” Kopp said.
But while Kopp and Jackson-Davis were productive in both halves, there was a notable drop-off in efficiency in the second by IU. The Hoosiers scored 1.19 points per possession in the first half, and just .9 in the second.
Rutgers threw multiple looks at IU and no doubt were finding their way after losing starter Mawot Mag.
IU coach Mike Woodson didn’t like his team’s lack of movement in the last 20 minutes.
“We became very lethargic, man, and you know, against good teams that really defend, you can’t do that because it’s a struggle to score the basketball,” Woodson said. “I thought we free-flowed the first half but the second — you know, we looked tired tonight, and I’m not using that as an excuse. We just didn’t have any pop coming down the stretch.”
Indiana took 14 more free throws than Rutgers and outscored them at the stripe by 11 while shooting 70.8 percent. The Hoosiers also shot 41.7 percent from three. It was the 11th game IU has shot above 40 percent from three.
Overall IU scored 1.05 points per possession, compared to a season-low .72 at Rutgers in December.
Indiana had a rough 10 minute stretch over the last eight minutes of the first half and the first couple minutes of the second. Over that span, Rutgers scored 24 points, made six threes and shot 9-of-14 from the field.
But in the other 30 minutes, IU held the Scarlet Knights to 36 points on 14-of-44 shooting (31.8 percent) including 2-of-17 (11.8 percent) from three.
Rutgers did not score from the field over the last 3:29 of the game until a dunk at the buzzer after the outcome was decided.
“Our defense was solid, and we just kept grinding and grinding and we got stops when we needed,” Woodson said.
Indiana didn’t foul excessively in this game like they have throughout much of the season. The Hoosiers committed just 13 fouls for the entire game and Rutgers got just 10 free throws.
After getting dominated on the glass at Rutgers in December, IU won the overall rebounding battle and Rutgers only had an 11-9 edge on the offensive glass. They snared 13 offensive rebounds in the first 13 minutes in December.
Rutgers scored .95 point per possession, the same as what they scored in December.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Miller Kopp gives IU a needed spark against Rutgers
- Rutgers’ Paul Mulcahy tried to trip Trayce Jackson-Davis
- Trayce Jackson-Davis becomes first IU basketball player with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds
- Watch: Woodson, Jackson-Davis and Kopp discuss win over Rutgers
- IU basketball: Indiana 66 Rutgers 60 — Three keys | Highlights | Final stats
- Long form highlights:
Trayce Jackson-Davis (A) It’s difficult to process how he scored 20 points with so much attention coming his way. But Jackson-Davis was patient and took the opportunities when they were there. He had multiple right-handed finishes and continues to show his improvement as both a ball handler and a passer. And the rebounding numbers he is putting up are insane.
Race Thompson (D) It was hard to understand why Woodson kept Thompson in the game late when Rutgers was playing four guards. But Indiana did close the game strong. Thompson is making free throws, but his shot was off the entire game from the field, and he wasn’t a factor on the glass.
Miller Kopp (A) Yes Kopp made threes — you expect him to do that if he’s left open. He has to do that. But he was most impressive on the defensive end. He has limitations, but this was the most effort Kopp has exerted on defense. “What really stood out to me was his effort on the defensive end of the floor, how he’s sitting down and he was guarding. He was really, really locked in on the defensive end,” Jackson-Davis said.
Jalen Hood-Schifino (B) It continues to be a roller coaster ride with Hood-Schifino when it comes to shot-making. But the rest of his game was sound. He helped hold Paul Mulcahy to two points and Rutgers’ starting guards to a 7 for 27 shooting night. And he generally took care of the ball against a very difficult defense to contend with.
Trey Galloway (B+) Galloway played 34 minutes with just one foul and no turnovers. While it wasn’t a big game on the offensive end, he was steady on both ends and had a massive offensive rebound and put back in the final minute. “I love everything about him because he plays hard,” Woodson said.
Tamar Bates (B+) He seemed to give Indiana really good first half play, so it was surprising to see him only get three minutes in the second half, especially with Rutgers going smaller.
Malik Reneau (B) He got a little careless with the ball at times, but Reneau is continuing to do a nice job playing off of Jackson-Davis and rebounding.
Kaleb Banks and Jordan Geronimo also played in the game briefly.
In total, Indiana had 11 scholarship players healthy and available. Logan Duncomb was out due to an illness, and Xavier Johnson (foot) remains unavailable.
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