It was senior day for Indiana, and it was tough to imagine a better way that this game could have gone for the Hoosiers.
Indiana needed a win to keep their tournament hopes alive, and Rutgers has proven themselves to be a pesky opponent, grabbing wins over tournament hopefuls Iowa and Minnesota in recent weeks. Yet none of that mattered to Juwan Morgan.
Morgan pushed Indiana to a dominant win, scoring 25 points on 11-13 shooting to lead the Hoosiers to an 89-63 victory, their fourth consecutive win, and likely ending his IU career in Assembly Hall in the best way imaginable. The only thing stopping Morgan for much of the game was foul trouble, with Morgan logging just 22 minutes of action as a result.
Devonte Green also continued his streak of impressive performances, racking up 16 points on 6-of-8 from the field in 21 minutes of action. Most importantly, Green recorded just one turnover on the game. Turnovers and poor decision making have plagued Green throughout his Indiana career, yet Green has turned the ball over just twice over the last 3 games, which includes 71 minutes of action.
Another good sign for the Hoosiers was the continued emergence of the Indiana offense, who had their way with Rutgers for most the afternoon. Indiana put up 1.27 points per possession on the afternoon, their second-best mark of the Big Ten season, trailing only Thursday nights victory over the Illini. Indiana has struggled at times throughout the season on the offensive end, but those struggles seem far behind them. Much of their improvement on that end of the floor needs to be laid at the feet of freshmen point guard Rob Phinisee, who has done a tremendous job of keeping the team under control and is a major reason why Indiana’s turnovers have gone down, with just 13 over their last two games.
Though a victory over Rutgers may not seem like a huge win in a vacuum, the win keeps the Hoosiers tournament hopes alive and helps to confirm something many of us have been thinking; this team has turned a corner. Now Indiana will have to turn their attention to the Big Ten Tournament, where Thursday’s showdown with the Ohio State Buckeyes looms large. Indiana will likely need at least one win in the Big Ten tournament to secure an at-large tournament berth, and with how Indiana is playing right now, it’s tough not to feel confident about their chances.