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Indiana takes lessons learned into matchup with Rutgers

indiana-takes-lessons-learned-into-matchup-with-rutgers

If there was one important lesson for Indiana after its 71-65 home victory over Ohio State on Saturday, it is that circumstances always can improve.

Tuesday’s visit to Piscataway, N.J., to play Rutgers offers the Hoosiers a chance to get off to a better start, which will be key while on the road. Indiana (11-4, 3-1 Big Ten) continues to work on giving its best effort for a full 40 minutes.

Indiana trailed the Buckeyes for long stretches before rallying from a nine-point deficit in the second half.

“I just think you’ve got to have a mental toughness about yourself,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “Just like we played the last 15 minutes of (Saturday’s) ballgame, that’s what you got to take to the road. Somehow, I got to get our team understanding that. You got to do that for 40 minutes, not just 15 minutes.”

Leading scorer Malik Reneau sparked Indiana against Ohio State, scoring 19 of his 23 points after halftime. Xavier Johnson (18 points) and CJ Gunn (10) also finished in double figures as Indiana rebounded from an 86-70 loss at Nebraska on Wednesday.

Rutgers (8-6, 0-3) remained winless in conference play after Saturday’s 86-77 loss at Iowa.

The Scarlet Knights trailed by 14 points after just 6:37 and were down by as many as 18 in the game.

“We’re close. We’ve got to finish the deal off,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “I thought for about 35 minutes, we played hard enough, we did good enough things. But the first five minutes, you’re down 19-5 and now you’re fighting for your life to get back in the game.”

Senior forward Mawot Mag contributed career highs with 24 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double. Mag made his season debut last month after recovering from a torn right ACL that happened in February.

“His injury was tough,” Pikiell said. “He’s rounding back in to where he needs to be.”

The Hoosiers and Scarlet Knights split a pair of meetings last season, with both teams prevailing at home. Indiana avenged a 15-point defeat with a 66-60 victory in February, stopping a six-game losing streak in the series.

–Field Level Media

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