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Hoosiers Don’t Get Enough Stops; Bounced From B1G Tournament

(Eddie Cotton/HN)

NEW YORK – When Indiana led by 16 with just over eight minutes to play in the first half, everything was satisfactory. The Hoosiers were clicking on offense, playing solid defense and Rutgers couldn’t get anything going offensively.

And that’s where it all spiraled out of control. Just seven minutes later the game was tied at 28. Just 15 minutes later, Rutgers had their lead all the way out to eight. It was a 24-point swing.

“I think we didn’t do a good enough job of keeping our foot on the gas once we had them down in that type of situation,” senior guard Robert Johnson said. “They responded and we never did.”

As the final buzzer sounded on a night where Indiana lost 76-69, the disappointment was evident. What looked like was going to be a blowout early, nearly turned into a blowout the other way.

Rutgers started off shooting abysmal from the field while Indiana was hitting, what seemed like, everything. Once that switched, it never returned to the former.

In the past it has been whether or not Indiana could get a few more buckets to nab a win. Thursday it was different. The Hoosiers were leaning on their defense and calling out that part of their game following the loss.

“I think it just comes down to us not getting enough stops, not so much shooting,” junior Juwan Morgan said. “If we were getting stops we would have got out and our offense would have been flourishing, but we didn’t get those.”

The offense just wasn’t there Thursday night for Indiana. They held Rutgers to 24 percent shooting in the first meeting in early February. Nearly a month later, they were the team shooting 36 percent.

In the second half, Rutgers as a team shot 68 percent from the field. Much of that was due to what junior guard Corey Sanders was doing for the Scarlet Knights. He finished with 28 points and the Hoosiers didn’t have an answer. IU’s highest scorer was Morgan with 15 points.

“In the second half we were not able to stop the ball,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “We just couldn’t. Whether it was Sanders at the basket. I thought Deshawn Freeman really hurt us throughout the game with his ability to play off the lane and drive.”

Miller was very direct when talking about postseason basketball. A NIT bid seems out of the question. He even said he’d be surprised if they played postseason basketball.

There was a certain point in the game where Indiana turned it over and Rutgers went down to score a fast break bucket. Miller just crossed his arms and leaned back on the scorer’s table. The game slipped away from IU in the end.

“For our guys, I’m really disappointed,” Miller said. “Wish we could have done a better job. They gave everything they had all season long through a lot of ups and downs. Saw a lot of guys grow throughout the course of the year and do some things that a lot of people probably didn’t anticipate. From that standpoint I’m proud of them.”

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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