Another road game, another disappointing result for Indiana.
The Hoosiers had an opportunity to get not only a quality conference win against a talented Rutgers game, but get their first road win of the year in effort of proving their legitimacy. Instead, it was a 59-50 loss for the Hoosiers to drop to 13-4 on the season and 3-3 in the Big Ten.
As previously stated, Indiana is still winless in road games, being 0-3 and the Rutgers game being the first road contest where the Hoosiers did not get totally blown out by the end of it.
The loss sinks much of the momentum of the Hoosiers’ surprising 66-54 win over now No. 21 Ohio State at home on Saturday.
Let’s take a look at the good, bad and ugly from Indiana’s loss to Rutgers.
Good: Justin Smith and Joey Brunk
There were few bright spots in the loss, but Justin Smith and Joey Brunk would have to be it. The juniors did a good job in the post and really gave Indiana the only chance for a win the Hoosiers had all game.
Smith finished with 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field with seven rebounds while Brunk earned a double-double in a 10-point and 10-rebound effort while having 50 percent field goal percentage on the night.
Neither player was spectacular, but they hustled and played hard and provided the only consistent offense that Indiana could find. Other than Brunk and Smith, everyone on Indiana shot the ball very poorly.
The two juniors were the only ones at 50 percent or better for the game, and nobody else made more than three field goals. The next best shooting effort for an individual shooting night from Indiana was Trayce Jackson-Davis who was only 2-for-6.
As a team, Indiana shot a lowly 31.7 percent from the field.
Bad: Offensive execution
As one might expect, based upon the previous section, Indiana’s offense as a whole wasn’t pretty.
The offensive execution for the Hoosiers, like in many games, was lackluster due to not-so-stellar guard play. The guards didn’t score, the ball didn’t move and the offense was flat.
The assist to turnover ratio for the night was awful. Indiana had six assists all night compared to 16 turnovers. That kind of ballhandling isn’t going to win anyone road games in the Big Ten.
In addition to the ball not being able to move, the guards could barely score too. Devonte Green and Armaan Franklin combined to go 0-for-5, while Rob Phinisee and Al Durham put up a combined 19 points, on 3-for-11 and 2-for-9 shooting respectively. Seven of those 19 points come from the free-throw line.
Beyond the statistical deficiencies in scoring and assists, the worst part of Indiana’s offensive execution was that it couldn’t handle runs well. The Hoosiers had opportunities to really take control of the game, but they squandered them.
Early on, Indiana bounced back from a 12-0 Rutgers scoring run in the first three and a half minutes of the game and played the Scarlet Knights close from there. With 6:52 to go in the first half, Indiana led 22-21 with Rutgers in a serious funk.
They squandered that lead and collapsed to end the first half, down 31-24 by the intermission. That was the last lead the Hoosiers ever saw too, as it only got worse in the second, with the biggest Rutgers’ lead being 17 before the Scarlet Knights won by nine.
The worst part of Indiana’s loss? Easy. Shooting.
This was the latest installment in evidence that the Hoosiers just can’t shoot the ball on a consistent basis, at all. This game was the lowest point scoring output for Indiana all season.
The 31.7 percentage from the field was already stated, but the shooting from the outside really encapsulates the shooting struggles. The Hoosiers were just 2-for-19 (10.5 percent) when shooting from 3-point range.
Those two threes came at the end of the game as well, as the first one came from Durham with 5:18 to go in the game. On the season, Indiana is now a 29.7 percent team from beyond the arc.
Other than just 3-point shooting, any made shot outside of the paint was extremely scarce and Indiana did not get to the free-throw line enough.
The Hoosiers did a good job once they got to the charity stripe, going 10-for-12 for the game, but the limited opportunities halted Indiana’s chances to come back.
Indiana head coach Archie Miller has stated on multiple occasions the importance that Indiana finds ways to get to the line and capitalize if this team wants to win games. On Wednesday, the Hoosiers did not do so.