For the first time since March 10, 2019, Indiana basketball earns their first win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, snapping their five-game losing streak in the series.
After beating the No. 1 team in the country in Assembly Hall on Saturday, the Hoosiers had to turn around and completely shift their focus to the second-best team in the Big Ten, Rutgers, on Tuesday night.
Earlier this season, Rutgers and Caleb McConnell took down No. 10 Indiana basketball and handed them their first loss of the season on December 3.
Just over two months later, the Hoosiers hosted the Scarlet Knights in Assembly Hall and beat No. 24 Rutgers, 66-60, despite 14 team turnovers. Led by Trayce Jackson-Davis and Miller Kopp, the Hoosiers are looking like one of the best teams in the country on both ends of the floor.
The senior forward became the sixth player in Indiana basketball history to reach 2,000 career points with 20 points, 18 rebounds, and six assists on Tuesday night. Earning his first win over Rutgers in his career, Jackson-Davis (2,004) joins Calbert Cheaney (2,613), Steve Alford (2,438), Don Schlundt (2,192), A.J. Guyton (2,100), and Mike Woodson (2,061) as the only other Hoosiers to reach such a feat in their careers in Bloomington.
The sharpshooting Miller Kopp, on the other hand, had one of his best games of the season, knocking down 4-of-6 from three-point range and totaling 18 points and two steals in 35 minutes of action. Finally, Kopp shows no hesitation from beyond the arc, which is exactly what is needed if the Hoosiers want to go far in March.
Although Jalen Hood-Schifino had somewhat of a “down game” for his standards, the freshman point guard made some sensational plays on both ends of the floor, including an unreal behind-the-back, up-and-under finish through contact. Hood-Schifino registered seven points on 2-for-9 shooting from the field, 0-for-3 from deep, but added three rebounds, three assists, a steal, and just two turnovers in 37 minutes. Without Hood-Schifino on the floor, this Hoosiers’ team is lost.
One thing I would like to see more is Malik Reneau and Trayce Jackson-Davis on the floor together. Race Thompson is our glue guy and is absolutely necessary for us to go far in March, but at the moment, he is a step slow and seems to carry a bit of weight on the offensive side of things. Yes, Reneau gets embarrassed on the defensive end, but offensively he brings us so much more and takes the pressure off of Jackson-Davis, which is definitely needed.
Check out the highlights below:
The Hoosiers have won three straight games against ranked opponents (No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 1 Purdue, and No. 24 Rutgers) for the first time since 2015-16, and now travel on the road to Ann Arbor to take on a really difficult Michigan Wolverines’ team that can beat you in many ways, especially in their home arena.