Make no mistake, Rutgers’ offense failed itself again.
Many will look only at the box score and see the fact that Rutgers gave up 76 points and Indiana shot 47% and say “Same Old Rutgers.” That’s not true. Yes, Rutgers can’t seem to find a win and they haven’t won on the road in the Big Ten yet, but they battled Indiana, diving on the floor for balls, hustling on defense and pulling down rebounds. There is a lot to like about the brand new Scarlet Knights.
Offense is not part of that so far.
Rutgers shot well—44%—from the field, but turnovers and free throws destroyed any momentum they had. Though they had built an early 9 point lead, they couldn’t hold on to the ball and Indiana continually turned missteps into points. And though the Scarlet Knights got to the free throw line, they couldn’t convert there—shootining only 12-26.
And that’s the story of the Big Ten for Rutgers. Every time something succeeds, another part of their game falters.
Corey Sanders had a vintage game, getting to the rim and using his athleticism and length for lay-ups. Sanders scored 17 points and did everything he could to keep Rutgers in the game. And while Deshawn Freeman didn’t start while suffering from an illness that has made its way through the team, he battled the entire game. And CJ Gettys picked up the Freeman slack, putting in 12 points.
But after a hot start, Rutgers couldn’t continue the momentum. Nigel Johnson put up 0 points and at time seemed to try to force the action.
Meanwhile, James Blackmon Jr. found his way to 16 points for the Hoosiers and OG Anunoby scored 11 off the bench. Indiana took advantage of every Rutgers miscue.
Rutgers now sits at 11-8 and 0-6 in the Big Ten. They have 5 days to prepare for Nebraska at the RAC.
But, if they can’t figure out the turnover situation, one wonders how different the story will be going forward.