It’s not easy to beat a team three times.
This is what the Scarlet Knights heard all week leading up to their matchup against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament. Seventh-seeded Rutgers used a second-half surge on the defensive end of the floor to pick up a 61-50 victory over 10th-seeded Indiana.
The Scarlet Knights held Indiana without a field goal for the final 9:50 of the game. From that point on, Rutgers outscored Indiana 14-2, including two massive 3-pointers from Paul Mulcahy (10 points) to create some separation.
Rutgers got off to another slow start offensively in the first half. Indiana built a 21-11 lead while the Scarlet Knights missed their first six attempts from beyond the arc. Just like in their last meeting, Rutgers was able to weather the storm before halftime.
The Scarlet Knights connected on their next four attempts to finish the first half on a 22-11 run to take a one-point lead heading into the break.
The second half saw both teams go on early runs. Myles Johnson, who finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds, knocked in two free throws to put Rutgers up 41-36 just four minutes into the second half. Indiana would score the next eight points to go back on top.
The Scarlet Knights have been strong defensively all season long and this carried them tonight. They held Indiana scoreless for the final quarter of the game and kept it balanced offensively.
Ron Harper Jr. logged a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Jacob Young added 13 points of his own. Geo Baker ran the offense efficiently dishing out seven assists and with just one turnover.
Indiana finished 2-16 from the three-point line and could not connect from the charity stripe either with six makes in 15 attempts. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the Hoosiers with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Exactly one year after Rutgers was pulled off the court against Michigan, they were able to pick up a Big Ten Tournament victory. The conversation is no longer about the NCAA Tournament but what the Scarlet Knights have a chance to accomplish in the conference tournament.
Rutgers will face second-seeded Illinois on Friday night at 6:30 PM. This will be a rematch of a 91-88 victory that the Scarlet Knights were able to pickup over No. 3 Illinois at the RAC back on Dec. 20.