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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

INSTANT RECAP: Turnovers, offensive struggles plague Indiana men’s basketball in 66-57 loss at Rutgers

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After breaking a streak of seven straight losses to Rutgers last season, Indiana men’s basketball aimed to finally take down the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, New Jersey, for the first time since 2018 on Tuesday night. Instead, the Hoosiers’ struggles in Jersey Mike’s Arena continued in a 66-57 defeat. 

It was a sloppy start in Piscataway. The Hoosiers committed four turnovers before the first three minutes, and the Scarlet Knights coughed up their fourth less than five minutes in.  

Indiana overcame its turnover-infested start by creating offense to break open the game. A 14-2 run turned a 5-point deficit into a 7-point lead with 11 minutes remaining.  

Rutgers crept back into the game slowly but surely as the game’s quality reverted to its earlier ugliness. Leading 20-13, the Hoosiers suffered a six-minute scoring drought. A few baskets into the drought, the Scarlet Knights shared the shooting struggles with a 1-for-12 span as neither team could find the bottom of the net. 

Sophomore center Kel’el Ware broke Indiana’s scoreless streak, but Rutgers started to find its offense, too, and took a 23-22 lead with 2:34 left in the half. The teams traded baskets and a tie at 27 all looked likely entering the break. However, Rutgers sophomore guard Derek Simpson heaved a 30-footer and banked it in to give the Scarlet Knights a 3-point lead at halftime. 

Indiana’s turnover troubles and poor rebounding gave Rutgers several more opportunities in the first 20 minutes. The Hoosiers finished the first half with 11 turnovers and allowed nine offensive rebounds to permit the Scarlet Knights to attempt 10 more shots. 

Rutgers took the momentum from Simpson’s shot and carried it into the second half. The Scarlet Knights took three separate 6-point leads and connected on two 3-pointers while the Hoosiers continued to turn the ball over. 

A consequential moment occurred with 13:10 remaining in the game. Scarlet Knight sophomore forward Antwone Woolfolk appeared to commit an offensive foul, but after review, Indiana sixth-year senior guard Xavier Johnson was assessed a Flagrant 2 technical foul and ejected from the game for a hit below the belt. 

Despite the ejection and ensuing opportunities it allowed Rutgers, the Hoosiers managed to show some fight. They ripped off 5 straight points to cut the deficit to 1 and threatened to snatch the lead back for the first time since the opening half. 

Indiana couldn’t continue the run, and another long spell ensued. The Hoosiers had their second six-minute scoreless sequence of the contest, and the Scarlet Knights turned the 1-point lead into a 13-point advantage with six-and-a-half minutes to go.  

Rutgers’ dominant stretch all but ended the Hoosiers’ hopes. The Scarlet Knights exhibited complete control of the game, and the Hoosiers didn’t display the offense necessary for a double-digit comeback.  

A brief Indiana run aided by a pair of 3-pointers shrunk the gap to 6 points with 2:22 remaining, but the Scarlet Knights never allowed the Hoosiers to get any closer.  

Indiana finished the matchup with 18 turnovers and shot 39.7% from the field — tied for its second-lowest rate this season. The Hoosiers’ 57 points tied for their lowest output this year. 

Next up Indiana will return to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall to host Minnesota. The teams will face off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and it will be televised on FS1. 

Follow reporters Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Press (@MattPress23) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season. 

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