Rutgers’ dominance over Indiana ends with loss in Bloomington without Mawot Mag


Rutgers guard Cam Spencer (10) has the ball knocked out of his hands by Indiana forward Miller Kopp (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)AP


Rutgers saw its recent dominance of Indiana end on Tuesday.

The No. 24 Scarlet Knights could not continue their three-season stretch of beating the No. 18 Hoosiers, falling in a 66-60 loss at Assembly Hall in which nearly overcame a 14-point deficit, but trailed for all but three minutes. The defeat snaps a six-game winning streak over Indiana for Rutgers, which also falls to 3-6 in games played outside of Piscataway and 4-5 in Quadrant One games.

Indiana (17-7, 8-5) is now level with the Scarlet Knights (16-8, 8-5) in second place in the Big Ten standings. Maryland (@Michigan State on Tuesday), Michigan (vs. Nebraska on Wednesday) and Iowa (@Purdue on Thursday) have a chance to catch up with the duo with a win later this week.

Playing without one of its best defenders in forward Mawot Mag, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL, Rutgers struggled to contain the high-powered Hoosiers early on.


The hosts, who entered the day with the third-most efficient offense in the Big Ten during league play, hit 11 of its first 15 shot attempts and scored on 12 of its first 18 possessions. Rutgers struggled to stop Trayce Jackson-Davis (20 points on 8-of-14 shooting), who has been playing like an All-American this calendar year, and Miller Kopp (17 points on 6-of-9 shooting), who has been the most efficient offensive player in the Big Ten during conference play.

The visitors did hit back after that initial punch, going on a 21-8 run in a nine-minute stretch on either end of halftime to tie the game at 38 with 19 minutes to play. Rutgers benefited from some uncharacteristically scorching outside shooting — it hit six of its first 12 three-point attempts, with reserve forward Oskar Palmquist (3-of-3), sixth-man-turned-starter Aundre Hyatt (2-of-4) and guard Cam Spencer (2-2) leading the charge from beyond the arc — while holding the Hoosiers to eight points in the final eight minutes of the half.

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But the Scarlet Knights could not keep up that shooting pace. Indiana went on an 11-2 run after Rutgers knotted the game up at 38 each, rebuilding a nine-point lead as the visitors went five minutes without a point. The Scarlet Knights held the Hoosiers scoreless for two separate three-minute stretches, but they could only string together a pair of baskets each time as their red-hot shooting cooled down considerably. Rutgers missed 12 of its final 13 three-point attempts of the game, leaving opportunities to bring itself back into the game on the table.

The Scarlet Knights cut their deficit to as low as three points with less than three minutes remaining after holding Indiana without a field goal for an eight-minute stretch, but they could not get over the hump. Indiana closed the game on a 7-4 run in the final 3:29 of the game as Rutgers missed three of its final four shots.

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Rutgers returns to action on Saturday against Illinois at the State Farm Center, facing another contender for a top-four spot in the Big Ten standings in a venue it has never won in (0-6).

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