IU basketball breezes by Rutgers for fourth straight victory
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Juwan Morgan had 25 points and seven rebounds as Indiana beat Rutgers 89-73 on Sunday.
Romeo Langford added 20 points and six rebounds while Devonte Green had 16 points for the Hoosiers (17-14, 8-12), who secured a first-round bye at the Big Ten tournament in Chicago.
Morgan shot 11 of 13 from the field to post his second 25-point game this season. The senior was coming off a 20-point performance with nine rebounds in Indiana’s 92-74 victory against Illinois.
The win was Indiana’s fourth straight after losing 12 of its previous 13 games before the team’s recent run to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
Rutgers (14-16, 7-13) lost its second consecutive conference game and missed out on a chance at a first-round bye in the conference tournament, which runs from March 13-17 at the United Center.
Junior Eugene Omoruyi led the Scarlet Knights with 18 points and six rebounds. Caleb McConnell finished with 17 points and five rebounds.
The Hoosiers controlled the glass and shot over 50 percent in the first half to establish a double-digit lead by the 12:40 mark. Indiana shot 53 percent in the game and were 79 percent from the free-throw line at 23 of 29.
A 20-5 run by the Hoosiers led to a 16-point lead with 10:25 remaining in the first half. Indiana shot 15 of 28 from the field at 54 percent and outrebounded the Scarlet Knights 19-16 to build a 46-36 lead by halftime. Morgan scored 12 of his team-high 25 points in the first half with six rebounds, including four on the defensive glass.
A 3-pointer by Morgan gave the Hoosiers a 20-point advantage in the second half before the margin reached 22 points after a Devonte Green layup with 11:06 remaining. The Hoosiers largest lead stretched to 23 points behind a Justin Smith dunk with less than seven minutes left.
The Hoosiers scored 14 points off turnovers, 12 points on second chances and 48 points in the paint. They converted 19 of 24 layups and only turned the ball over six times.
Rutgers: While Rutgers missed out on its eighth league win, which would have marked the first time since 2001-02 in the Big East, the Scarlet Knights achieved a program feat not seen in 13 years. Rutgers’ seven league-game victories are the most since 2005-06.
Indiana: The Hoosiers needed a win on Sunday to break a three-way tie with both Rutgers and Illinois behind the league’s top-8 programs. At 7-12 in the Big Ten standings prior to tipoff, Indiana split its regular-season meetings with Rutgers and won its fourth straight conference game. The win secured a ninth seed for the Hoosiers in the conference tournament and a first-round bye.
Indiana will open the Big Ten tournament on Thursday in Chicago.
Rutgers will play in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament on Wednesday.