IU’s best defensive performance of the season couldn’t have come at a better time.
After suffering four straight losses, IU limited Rutgers to just 24-percent shooting from the field in Monday night’s 65-43 victory against the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, New Jersey.
It was the fewest points scored by a conference opponent against IU since 2008.
IU, now 13-12 overall and 6-7 in conference play, led for all but 37 seconds of the game.
Junior forward Juwan Morgan led the Hoosiers in scoring with 24 points in 30 minutes played.
Senior guard Robert Johnson was the other IU player in double figures, scoring with 19 points.
“The fact he knocked a few in was good for us,” IU Coach Archie Miller said on the Big Ten Network after the game. “He battles every day for us.”
The Morgan-Johnson duo combined for six made 3-pointers as well, which helped IU shoot an above-average 45 percent on 3-point attempts.
However, poor free-throw shooting again made an appearance for the Hoosiers.
IU went just 8-18 from the free-throw line, with Morgan and Johnson missing four shots each.
But what allowed IU to pull away early in the game — IU led by 11 points within the game’s first six minutes — was its ability to take advantage of Rutgers turnovers.
The Scarlet Knights gave the ball away 12 times and IU capitalized with 17 points off those turnovers. In comparison, Rutgers scored just two points from 13 IU giveaways.
“I think we did a good job of keeping our defense tight,” Johnson said on the Big Ten Network after the game.
Sophomore guard Devonte Green started in place of senior guard Josh Newkirk and made the most of his opportunity. Green played active, assertive defense for the Hoosiers and committed just two turnovers in 30 minutes of game time on offense.
The New York-native led all players with four assists.
Senior forward Collin Hartman continued to ease his way back following a left knee injury, playing 10 minutes and making a 3-pointer.
A total of 11 IU players played in Monday’s win, thanks to the large margin by which the Hoosiers led.
The Scarlet Knights did themselves no favors by scoring just three points in the game’s opening eight minutes. Rutgers leading scorer, junior guard Corey Sanders, who averages more than 14 points per game, was limited to nine points.
Even Rutgers’ leading scorer in the game, senior forward Deshawn Freeman with 13 points, still shot just 27 percent from the field.
IU’s ability to limit Rutgers’ main threats on offense allowed the Hoosiers to cruise to their second true road win of the season with five regular season games remaining.
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