Indiana’s Road Woes Continue

Indiana’s Road Woes Continue in a loss at Rutgers
By Nick Jenkinson\Excel H Sports
The Indiana Hoosiers fell to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 66-57 in Jersey Mike’s Arena Tuesday Night in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Hoosiers have lost their last five games in Piscataway since 2019 and it’s the third time the Hoosiers have scored less than 60 points facing the Scarlet Knights on the road. Rutgers leads the all-time series 9-8 and won seven of the last eight meetings with the Hoosiers since 2020. Indiana is 3-5 all time on the road against the Scarlet Knights.
Indiana got 13 points and 17 rebounds from Kel’el Ware for his sixth double-double of the season. Malik Reneau added 13 points and Freshman Mackenize Mgbako who hails from Gladstone, New Jersey which 19.7 miles away from the Rutgers campus scored 13 points in a return to his home state. The Hoosiers struggled from the field going 23-58 for 39%, 7-26 from three-point range for 27% and 4-15 from the free throw line for 26%. The Hoosiers pulled down 40 rebounds, dished out 17 assists, 10 steals, 5 blocks and committed 18 turnovers which was a big difference then the 4 turnovers the Hoosiers had against Ohio State last Saturday night at home.
Xavier Johnson scored 2 points and committed 5 turnovers and was ejected with 13:10 left in the second half for going below the belt on Rutgers big man Antione Wolfolk and being called for a flagrant two foul. The Hoosiers were trailing 39-35 at that point. Malik Reneau got the Hoosiers within one 39-38 with 11:41 left as Rutgers went on 6-0 run to make it 45-38 forcing Mike Woodson to take a timeout. Rutgers stretched the run to 12-0 on a dunk by Mawot Mag with 6:32 left to play as the Hoosiers could not get any closer than six down the stretch.
Mawot Mag led the Scarlet Knights with 13 points, Aundre Hyatt added 12 points. Derek Simpson, Austin Williams and Jamichael Davis all had 10 points apiece. Rutgers finished the game 21-65 from the field for 32%, 5-22 from three-point range for 27% and 19-28 from the free throw line for 68%. The Scarlet Knights pulled down 51 rebounds, dished out 12 assists, 9 steals, 7 blocks and committed 15 turnovers. Rutgers is 9-6 and 1-3 in the Big Ten and as the Hoosiers number especially at home making it one of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.
In the first half Rutgers jumped out to a 7-2 lead and then Hoosiers led 9-7 on a Kel’el Ware dunk Indiana extended the lead to 16-9 with 11:02 left in the first half on a Ware layup. But the offense struggled as Mike Woodson went deep into his bench for two different stretches having four subs in the game simultaneously with either Kel’el Ware or Xavier Johnson. By the time Woodson went back to his starters the momentum had already flipped. Indiana scored seven points over the final nine minutes of the half 30-27 after Derek Simpson hit a bank shot three pointer at the buzzer to give Rutgers the lead going into the locker room. Woodson defended his decision to deep into his bench. “I’m not going to sit here and answer that question about the fans or you. I went to my bench, and I felt good about it. We just have to be more solid” Woodson said after the game.
The Hoosiers turned it over 11 times in the opening half leading to 12 points for the Scarlet Knights. Indiana 1-2 in true road games and 2-3 in neutral site games and will return home on Friday Night to take on Minnesota. Mike Woodson is not throwing in the towel yet and it’s on to the next game. “Work. Continue to work. That’s all you can do. We go to practice tomorrow and get ready for Minnesota. And I have got to get them over the hump” Woodson said after the game.

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