Writer J.T. Bickford is credited with saying, "Home is where the heart is." No more actual words have been spoken about this year's Indiana Men's Basketball team. After a disastrous road loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Hoosiers came home late this afternoon and defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 74-62.
What every Hoosier fan hopes is that this was forward Mackenzie Mgbako's coming out party. He scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed four rebounds in the win. Indiana's frontcourt was the story of this game. Center Kel'el Ware notched his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Fellow forward Malik Reneau scored 16 points and added six rebounds for the Hoosiers. Pharrel Payne led the Gophers with 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Leading scorer Dawson Garcia added 14 points and nine rebounds. Both teams scored in the paint. Indiana edged Minnesota 38-36 with points in the paint.
This afternoon's game is similar to what Indiana has done all year when returning to Assembly Hall. They cut down on the mistakes they make when they are on the road. The Hoosiers committed 18 turnovers against Rutgers; they had 10 this afternoon. They converted those turnovers into 16 points.
They played better perimeter defense against Minnesota than they did against Nebraska. The Golden Gophers shot only 39 percent from the three-point line against the Hoosiers. All three frontcourt players had outstanding performances for the first time this season.
Some of this can also be attributed to the fact that Indiana has dominated Minnesota in recent history. Indiana has won nine of ten against Minnesota, including seven in a row. The Hoosiers have also won eight consecutive at Assembly Hall versus the Gophers. Minnesota returns home to host Iowa on Monday, while Indiana hosts Purdue on Tuesday.