Credit - IU Athletics

Rutgers’ 22-0 Run Highlights Everything That is Wrong With Indiana

And you thought a 20-2 start against Michigan was bad?  You should have known it could get worse.

How about a 22-0 run by Rutgers.  Rutgers!  The Scarlet Knight rally, which spanned both halves, completely changed the game — as runs of that magnitude typically do.

We had to know — how exactly can that happen?

With 3:58 remaining in the first half, Al Durham attacked the rim and made a layup to extend Indiana’s lead to 29-19.  Energetic and crisp, the Hoosiers looked to be on their way to ending a six game losing streak.

And then it happened.  You just knew something was coming.  Indiana had given up runs that led to 16 point swings in each of the preceding six games.  But 22-0?  Against Rutgers?  That couldn’t happen.  It wouldn’t happen.  Right?

Of course it did happen, and we re-watched every painstaking detail to diagnose what went wrong.  It should probably come as no surprise that it was a 9 minute and 30 second perfect storm.

Here’s a summary of every thing that went wrong in the ensuing nearly 10 minutes:

Defensive mistakes:  6

Missed perimeter shots: 5

Missed in the paint: 4

Missed free throws: 1

Turnovers:  6

Offensive rebounds: 2

Bad calls: 6

From bad luck, to bad shooting, to carelessness on both ends of the floor, the unthinkable run by Rutgers touched on everything that is wrong with this team right now and highlighted Indiana’s depth issues.

It’s important to note that Juwan Morgan had just exited the game with his second foul before the run began.  Indiana was forced to play Evan Fitzner, Clifton Moore and Jake Forrester during much of the remainder of the first half.

Morgan’s foul trouble has been a recurring theme in several of IU’s late first half meltdowns, and his replacements in this game were guys that were never really imagined to be contributors this season, or in the case of Fitzner, someone that has played his way out of that description.

Similarly, Damezi Anderson came in twice during the run as a replacement for foul trouble and poor play.

Play-by-play

  • A defensive breakdown led to a Geo Baker layup.  Rob Phinisee was beat off the dribble on what could have easily been called a moving screen (resembled a football pick play) and Evan Fitzner’s help was too slow.
  • Three missed jump shots by Evan Fitzner, Al Durham and Romeo Langford.
  • A missed front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity by Romeo Langford.
  • A slow recovery on a hedge by Evan Fitzner gave Rutgers free throws on a bad foul call as the contact was created by the offensive player.
  • A bad pass by Rob Phinisee created a live ball turnover that Rutgers turned into a dunk.  This was the moment that got the crowd into the game.  With 2:17 left, Indiana still led 29-25.
  • Another bad call, a charge on Romeo Langford, took IU’s primary scoring threat out of the game for the rest of the half.  Langford had clearly contorted his body away from the defender, who flopped.
  • Damezi Anderson (in for Langford), loses track of his man who drains a corner three-pointer.
  • Another bad pass by Rob Phinisee is stolen by Rutgers.
  • An inability to grab a defensive rebound gives Rutgers a second possession, and the final possession of the half.  Indiana still led 29-28 at the break.

Second Half

  • A turnover by Justin Smith on a drive to the basket opened the second half.
  • A missed three-pointer by Juwan Morgan.
  • A Rutgers free throw tied the game.  Foul on Al Durham.
  • Another turnover on a bad pass by Rob Phinisee.  An ensuing Rutgers fast break resulted in a missed call as the ball bounced off the leg of a Rutgers player but was still rewarded to the Scarlet Knights.
  • Justin Smith then lost track of his man that had slipped to the basket on a Smith hedge, allowing just enough room for a contested layup.
  • A badly missed three-pointer by Romeo Langford led to a run-out by Rutgers and a tip-in after a missed layup.  33-29 Rutgers.
  • Indiana’s offense produces a layup at the rim for Juwan Morgan that was partially blocked.
  • A turnover by Juwan Morgan as he was indecisive on whether to pass or dribble and made a careless one hand move.
  • A goal tend by Juwan Morgan.  Crowd fully engaged.
  • Romeo Langford’s shot is blocked.  At one point his shooting arm is hooked by the defender.
  • Justin Smith gets his shot blocked.
  • A questionable foul call as Geo Baker appears to fall to ground intentionally after losing the ball.
  • Damezi Anderson loses his man on the ensuing inbounds play, resulting in a Rutgers three-pointer.  Anderson had come into the game for Phinisee.  38-29.
  • A strong dribble drive by Juwan Morgan results in a contested layup that rims out.
  • A three-pointer by Geo Baker makes it 41-29.  Al Durham went under what was a blatantly moving screen, although the screener moved down to get Durham who should have gone over the top.

Finally, Romeo Langford hits a three-pointer with 14:30 left in the second half — but the damage was done.  The game had been completely changed and loss number seven in a row now seemed inevitable.

Out of the things that were within IU’s control, one thing seems pretty clear from this disastrous sequence — it wasn’t the offensive scheme that was the culprit.  IU either turned the ball over or missed decent shots, and for much of the run they were without Morgan, or Langford — or both.

If you are feeling particularly masochistic, you can rewatch for yourself on BTN2Go here.

We strongly recommend for your own well being that you don’t.


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