Indiana failed to capitalize on the momentum from their win at No. 4 Iowa and drop their fourth in five games against the Scarlet Knights. Trayce Jackson-Davis struggled to gain any momentum as he scored 13 and gathered 7 rebounds. This is the lowest scoring total for Trayce since December 26 at Illinois when he scored 11 in the loss.
Indiana could not get it going in the paint and relied on an uncharacteristically good deep shot hitting 10-16 from 3PT. They had four players including Armaan Franklin, Khristian Lander, Al Durham, and Jerome Hunter each hitting at least two.
Despite having three players reach double-digit scoring, the Hoosiers failed to gain any momentum on the game with very streaky stretches of scoring and droughts. Ultimately, it led to Rutgers’ first win since December snapping a five game losing streak.
After the game, Coach Miller acknowledged his team did not meet expectations after an impressive victory at Iowa.
“Well I am disappointed for our guys. I told them after the game that I am not disappointed in the result, but I am disappointed for them. I think the attitude and work ethic and the togetherness has been as good as it has ever been here. The workload going into Iowa was exactly the same as coming from Iowa. Every single game in this league requires you not only to play hard, tough, and smart, but you have to play well to be in these games.”
“Rutgers is a good team that has had a great season. They have struggled lately coming in to this game with a lot of injuries. They are a bona fide big time team just like Iowa was and we were able to be successful and crack the Iowa game on defense and today Rutgers did a great job at dribble penetration. We had a hard time keeping them off the bounce in particular on the perimeter and offensively start the second half the game really changed with five turnovers in the first four or five minutes. We had three turnovers at halftime and finished with twelve.”
Indiana struggled with ball control going -3 in the turnover margin and having four more turnovers than they did at Iowa. These turnovers came at crucial times where they were unable to gain momentum and led to points for Rutgers off these turnovers that put the game out of reach. However, Miller focused on the big picture as there is plenty of basketball left to be played.
“This is one of twenty. I told them after the Iowa game that Rutgers was going to be just as good. I want our guys to believe how much we have to grow. Jerome, Anthony, Khristian, Jordan are all playing better. We are getting more contributions, we just need more consistency.”
A bright spot on the game was the performance of Khristian Lander. He had the best game of his freshman year as he scored 6 points by going 2-2 from 3PT and had solid ball control contributing no turnovers on the day. This came one game after Jordan Geronimo had his career best game at Indiana with an impressive performance at Iowa, but he did not reach the same level today with only 2 points on 6 minutes of play time.
Sophomore Armaan Franklin led the Hoosiers with 14 points. He appeared to have tweaked his ankle in the first half, but played the rest of the game without limitation as he still felt able to contribute for the Hoosiers.
Per Armaan, “I think their guards did a great job getting looks for themselves and their teammates. We got to be better on ball defense. I think we got some good looks, but unfortunately they didn’t go down. They came back with some big plays and we were unable to match them. We got to pick it up in the next one.”
“It is always tough to find ways to feed Trayce the ball because he garners so much attention. We got to find different ways to feed him the ball.” Armaan acknowledged he landed awkwardly on a defender’s foot early in the game. He did state postgame that he “will be fine” and “walk it off.”
Up next is Illinois for the Hoosiers, but it is an evolving situation as there is a long pause due to Michigan’s game being postponed due to COVID.
Per Archie Miller, “It seems our league is getting hit with some new stuff and it’s not all bad you don’t have to jam 132 games in just to get them in. I think the players here in general have been going strong for a long time and the layoffs can be beneficial and there are all options on the table as some teams are available for rescheduling, but a long pause is not all that bad either.”
“The next one is Illinois at home and that is the one we have to lock in on. If they change the schedule around, I am sure our guys will like to play rather than having 9-10 days off. We have to make sure we are doing what is best for our guys.”
Cover Photo: Indiana University Athletics