Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Rutgers

  • 01/15/2017 3:47 pm in

Indiana improved to 12-6 overall and 2-3 in Big Ten play on Sunday afternoon with a 76-57 win over Rutgers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Scarlet Knights:

· Green provides first half spark: Freshman Devonte Green didn’t play at all in losses to Louisville and Wisconsin, but has shown signs lately that he may be deserving of more minutes.

The latest example was Sunday’s first half, when Green played 10 minutes and scored four points, dished out two assists and had a steal. The Hoosiers were having a tough time containing Corey Sanders early on, but Green came in and slowed down the sophomore point guard.

The Long Island native only logged five minutes in the second half and angered Tom Crean in the game’s closing seconds when he tried to throw an alley oop to Freddie McSwain. His strong first half, however, is something Indiana may be able to build upon.

“Like we talked about yesterday,” Crean said. “Impact the game with your energy, impact the game with being in the right spot, move the ball. And just come in and literally play hard.”

· Indiana’s defense locks up Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights entered Sunday’s game with the Big Ten’s worst offense (0.82 points per possession).

Indiana held Rutgers below that average, surrendering just .77 points per trip. It was progress defensively for a group that hadn’t held a high major opponent under a point per possession since late November.

The Hoosiers forced a season-high 21 turnovers and scored 33 points off of those Rutgers miscues.

· An active Anunoby: OG Anunoby struggled in Tuesday’s 75-72 loss at Maryland, but the sophomore forward quickly put that subpar performance behind him.

Anunoby had seven of Indiana’s season-high 14 steals in the win and also added 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and a block. He also had no turnovers in 25 minutes.

“We tried to jump the gaps and be aggressive with our hands,” Anunoby said postgame.

If Indiana is going to turn things around and win games with any consistency, it needs more of the Anunoby that showed up Sunday on Branch McCracken Court.

· Indiana overcomes a poor shooting performance by taking care of the ball: Indiana, which is typically reliant on strong perimeter shooting to win, hit just 4-of-22 of its 3s against Rutgers and still won by 19.

How? It took care of the ball. Indiana had a season-low turnover percentage of 14.5 and finished well in the paint. Indiana was 25-of-40 on 2s for 62.5 percent. That’s the third time in five Big Ten games that the Hoosiers have shot better than 60 percent on 2s.

“That’s what we work at every day, making simple plays,” James Blackmon Jr. said. “And that’s when simple plays turn into big plays for us.”

Also of note: Indiana won comfortably despite rebounding only 17.6 percent of its missed shots, which was a season low.

· Bryant’s struggles at the rim continue: It’s been a season of regression for Thomas Bryant in terms of finishing plays at the rim.

Sunday was no different. Bryant was 3-of-7 on 2s, bringing his season average to 54.1 percent inside the arc. Last season, Bryant shot 70.7 percent on 2s, which ranked fourth nationally. He’s also regressed in conference games as he shot 67.9 percent on 2s in league play as a freshman and is 53.1 percent so far this season.

Combine Bryant’s struggles with the inconsistencies of Anunoby and it’s not hard to see why the Hoosiers have been so up and down through 18 games.

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  • MrNobody

    Glad you said that about JM. I thought those blocks brought as much if not more to the team as OG’s steals. It really got the team going. He and James are by far our best rebounders. I also think JM is starting to become one of our most important people to must have on the floor as much as possible with JBJ and RJ. DD needs more minutes as I think he is outplaying TB at this time. He’s making some freshman mistakes but it’s part of the learning curve.

  • Kagan Gentry

    I agree I think win JM plays well defensively and is aggressive offensively we are a much better team. I also think when he plays well i notice OG ups his game and i think there might be some friendly competition there since they came in together and play very similarly to one another. Also agree DD needs to take away some of TBs minutes yes he will make freshman mistakes but he is way more of a threat to score right now than TB and the offense seems to run smoother when he is out there. That being said a lot of fans were screaming for him to come in more in the second half but I understand why CTC would stick with TB you have got to get your stud going if you want to have a chance to make a run.

  • Ole Man

    At times Troy could take over a game and it didn’t matter the level of the competition. What has that to do with DD being a freshman?

  • marcusgresham

    McRoberts provides positive minutes and plays a totally different role than Davis does. On the other hand, I totally agree regarding McSwain. I hope they get something out of him next year but right now he is not ready.

  • marcusgresham

    That big upper body and skinny legs reminded me of that fatboy who transferred from Iowa to UWGB, Brennan Cougill.

  • marcusgresham

    Ever hear any announcer talk about attending an IU practice and hear them mention how intense Crean is? Maybe he does get on them, just not generally in a public forum, preferring to not embarrass them during a game. I could be wrong, but I’ve heard several references to him actually learning to back off the intensity in recent years.

  • marcusgresham

    Hell start McRoberts instead of Newkirk. Just don’t start Newkirk. He had a decent game against Rutgers but that rarely happens. He’s by far the weak link in the starting line up. He has absolutely zero plan when he drives the lane on most possessions.

  • IUBizmark

    I didn’t ask if he could/did take over a game. I asked if you thought his shot selection was good.

  • Ole Man

    What does that have to do with DD?
    Maybe then I’ll answer.