Rutgers beat Indiana 66-58. Four Thoughts as I catch my breath.
That Was a Defensive Masterpiece: While it took a little while to get going, as Indiana came out of the game shooting over 50% from the field, the Scarlet Knights settled in on defense. In fact, from 3:51 remaining the first half until 14:29 of the second, the Hoosiers didn’t score. Rutgers locked down, got stops and rebounded the heck out of the ball. Romeo Langford may have scored 20, but Ron Harper, Jr. made him work for those 20 points. He scored 20 points on 20 shots—not efficient at all. The Scarlet Knights fought through picks, stayed in position and helped out when they needed. Show the film of this one.
A 22-0 run? That’s what the stats say, but I’ll be honest, it didn’t feel like it. And that makes things even more impressive in my eyes. Rutgers was so business like in this game when they closed the deficit Indiana had built. And then they just ran away with in the second half. The Scarlet Knights are playing smart basketball, and each player is filling his role to a T. They are making key baskets and they believe.
8th Place All By Ourselves: I’m having a ton of trouble coming up with things to say about this win. This mini-streak is so impressive right now and it is great to see the team believing. They are 4-6 in the Big Ten and sitting in a nice little perch in the Big Ten. This is what improvement looks like. Now they have to not rest on their laurels—they won’t win every game from here on out, but they have a shot to win more than expected.
The Crowd Was Good: Listen, it was 12 degrees outside, and Indiana seemed to really be taking it to Rutgers early, so the place seemed dead to begin with. But when the Scarlet Knights clamped down and started running, the fans got into it. The second half, the fans really got roaring and a small-ish crowd had an impact on the Hoosiers. A lot of times Indiana looked out of sorts on offense and noise couldn’t help.
Wow, this build is enjoyable.