[Postgame 3-2-1] What We Learned From Indiana's Loss at Rutgers
Here are three key stats, two observations, and one lingering question from Indiana's 66-57 loss in Piscataway.
After a solid showing on Saturday night, Indiana followed it up with an ugly loss to an abysmal Rutgers team in Piscataway.
There is no sugarcoating this one. At times, Indiana looked like they didn’t want to be in the gym last night.
Defensive rebounding remains a significant cause for concern. The Scarlet Knights collected 19 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded the Hoosiers 49-39 in the game.
Xavier Johnson was given a Flagrant 2 foul with just over 13 minutes left in the game for grabbing the mid-section of Antwone Woolfolk, and Indiana was unable to recover from that point on.
This loss drops Indiana to 11-5 and 3-2 in Big Ten play.
Here are three key stats, two observations, and one lingering question from Indiana’s most recent performance.
Did you miss yesterday's edition of the postgame show?
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3 Meaningful Stats
1. Kel’el Ware had 17 rebounds.
Maybe the only stat Indiana can be happy about is that their 7-footer collected a season-high 17 boards in last night’s game.
Ware added 13 points on 5-10 shooting, making his lone shot from three late in the game.
Somehow, Rutgers had two more offensive rebounds than Kel’el had total rebounds. Indiana has now allowed a mind-boggling 41 offensive rebounds over the last two games.
As Jerod mentioned postgame, Indiana is now 222nd or worse in offensive and defensive rebounding this season.
Kel’el undoubtedly deserved the game ball for last night’s game. Unfortunately for him, no other Hoosier that played with the consistency and intensity he brought to the court. That is unacceptable, especially from the leaders on this team in the backcourt.
We have seen repeatedly that it needs to be a concerted effort by the entire team to win games on the road in the Big Ten.
Indiana won’t win many basketball games away from Bloomington if they rely on just one player to carry the freight on the road.
2. Xavier Johnson had five turnovers.
In his time at Indiana, X has had good games, but he has also had bad games. Last night was undoubtedly one of the worst games we have seen from Johnson in an Indiana uniform.
“The turnovers hurt us again,” said Mike Woodson. “You’re not going to beat teams on the road doing that.”
With nearly ten combined years of experience, the backcourt for Indiana should not be this bad. But Trey and X combined for ten total points and seven turnovers.
It doesn’t help that with 13:21 left on the clock, Xavier grabbed Antwone Woolfolk’s groin, earning himself a flagrant two-foul, and an ejection at a critical time in the game.
That’s unacceptable at this juncture of the season.
In as close to a must-win game as possible, X let his team down by doing what he did. Luckily for the Hoosiers, there wasn’t an immediate impact as Woolfolk missed both free throws and Nebraska missed their shot on the ensuing possession; however, Indiana crumbled late defensively, and Rutgers guard Derek Simpson was able to go wherever he wanted.
Leaders have to be on the floor during crunch time for their teammates. Instead, X was in the locker room.
3. Indiana was 4-15 from the charity stripe.
Like you probably did too, I looked at the margin of last night’s defeat and the amount of free throws Indiana missed and thought about what could have been.
It is easier said than done to make free throws in front of thousands of screaming fans; however, 4-15 is horrendous. No matter what environment you are playing in, you should be making 70% of your charity shots at the bare minimum.
“It’s all mental,” Woodson said. “You’re not going to beat teams in the Big Ten doing that.”
On Saturday, Xavier Johnson missed everything on a free throw. Last night, Trey Galloway barely grazed the front-rim on one of his two free throws of the night.
After tonight, Trey is now 50% from the free-throw line. This is terrifying to see, especially for a player like Galloway, who likes to drive the hoop and draw fouls.
This year’s squad’s inability to make free throws sends chills down my spine, but not anywhere near in a good way. It reminds me of the Archie Miller era at Indiana, and that’s never something you want to be reminded of.
Now let’s get to two observations and one lingering question … including an argument by Jerod in favor of suspending Xavier Johnson for Friday’s game against Minnesota.