The Indiana Hoosiers fell short in their first two road games of the season against their Big Ten Conference rivals, the Wisconsin Badgers and Maryland Terrapins. If Indiana wants to crack the Top 25, they must win on the road.
Unfortunately, the Hoosiers fell short against another conference foe, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, on January 15.
Indiana couldn’t overcome an early deficit against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights took command in the second half for an emphatic 59-50 win. It was their 12th consecutive victory at Louis Brown Athletic Center.
With the win, the Scarlet Knights improved to 13-4 on the season. The Hoosiers fell to the same win-loss record.
The key for Rutgers was establishing an early 12-0 lead. During that spurt, IU missed three shots and turned the ball over twice.
Sophomore guard Montez Mathis and senior forward Akwasi Yeboah scored Rugers’ first 12 points. It took the Hoosiers almost three minutes to get on the board. Junior forward Justin Smith made a layup at the 17:15 mark of the first half to end IU’s dry spell.
Five minutes later, the Hoosiers went on a 10-2 run to take their first lead of the game, 22-21. However, the Scarlet Knights countered with an 8-0 run of their own. Rutgers led Indiana at halftime, 31-24.
The Hoosiers couldn’t establish any momentum in the second half. The Scarlet Knights even had a 17-point lead with 12:06 left to play, 45-28. The closest Indiana could get the rest of the way was seven points. Rutgers was just too much in the second half.
Yeboah led the Scarlet Knights with 14 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Caleb McConnell added 10 points and six rebounds.
Smith had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Hoosiers. Junior transfer Joey Brunk had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for IU. Prized freshman recruit Trayce Jackson-Davis struggled for the third time in the past four games. He finished with four points and six rebounds.
Hoosiers Win First Road Game of the Season with 82-74 Triumph Over Nebraska Cornhuskers
If the Indiana Hoosiers want national prominence, they must win on the road. Entering their road game against the 7-10 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena on January 18, IU was 0-3 away from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
The Cream and Crimson finally snapped its winless streak on the road, topping the Cornhuskers, 82-74.
Indiana dug itself a hole early against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights three days earlier. Unfortunately, they couldn’t overcome a big second-half deficit.
This time, the Hoosiers got off to another slow start. However, they flipped the switch and never looked back.
Indiana fell behind 26-17 after Cornhuskers sophomore guard Cam Mack split his charities midway through the first half.
The Hoosiers went on a decisive 15-4 run to take the lead for good. Freshman forward Jerome Hunter drilled two three-pointers during that spurt. IU held on to a 46-41 lead at the break.
Indiana stepped on the gas in the second half. The Hoosiers outscored the Cornhuskers 16-2 to take a commanding 62-43 lead.
Nebraska managed to get within six in the game’s waning moments. However, Justin Smith’s layup and Trayce Jackson-Davis’ two free throws sealed the deal for IU.
Jackson-Davis bounced back from a poor showing against Rutgers with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists. Joey Brunk chipped in with 16 points while Smitih finished with 15 points.
Mack led all scorers with 20 points. He also had nine assists for Nebraska.
Indiana Goes Back Home as Hoosiers Odds Trend Down Against Michigan State Spartans
The 13-4 Indiana Hoosiers seek their fourth win in the past five games when they take on the 15th-ranked Michigan State Spartans at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Thursday, January 23. Should IU prevail, it will be its third win against a Top 25 opponent this season.
This won’t be an easy task. Michigan State leads the nation in assists (19.1 apg). Leading the charge is senior guard Cassius Winston with 6.1 assists per game. He also leads the Spartans in scoring at 18.1 points per game.
Michigan State is also 19th in the country in blocks per game at 5.35. Junior forward Xavier Tillman leads this category for the Spartans with an average of 2.1 He also averages 13.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Clearly, IU head men’s basketball coach Archie Miller and Co. must put the clamps on Winston and Tillman. Guards Rob Phinisee, Devonte Green, and Armaan Franklin will take their turns in trying to guard Winston.
On the other hand, Trayce Jackson-Davis’ matchup against Tillman is an intriguing one, to say the least.
Hoosiers odds, Hoosiers over/under, and Hoosiers moneyline should trend down slightly heading into Thursday’s matchup against Michigan State. While the two teams have identical 14-4 records, Michigan State gets the slight edge due to its superior 6-1 record in Big Ten Conference Play.
For their part, the Hoosiers are in a four-way tie for third in the Big Ten with a 4-3 conference record.
Expect a down-the-wire finish between Indiana and Michigan State on Thursday.