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Rutgers Falls Short of Upset Bid Against Indiana in Big Ten Opener

Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Bishop Daniels (2) moves to the basket. (Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Bishop Daniels (2) moves to the basket. (Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports)


In its first conference game of the 2015-2016 season, the Rutgers men’s basketball team hoped to show this season in the Big Ten would be different than last year.

For a majority of their contest against Indiana today at the RAC, the Scarlet Knights displayed a brand of basketball necessary to hang with the very best the Big Ten has to offer.

With 3:36 left to play in the second half and trailing by six, Rutgers forced a turnover on Indiana forward Troy Williams. Senior guard Bishop Daniels raced down the court and put up a jump shot, but it bounced off the rim and went back to Indiana.

It was the best chance the Knights had to making a close game even tighter, but it was characteristic of the way they played all game long.

The Knights could not find a way to score a basket when it counted, or get a stop to keep the game within striking distance. In the end, Rutgers fell to Indiana 79-72 to move to 6-8 on the season.

When Indiana went up 30-18 with 7:15 left in the first half, it seemed that the Hoosiers were beginning to run away with the game. But the Knights showed they were determined to keep the game close. They went on a 16-4 run to tie the contest up at 34 at the end of the half.

At the start of the final 20 minutes, both teams were trading baskets and looking for a breakthrough. Rutgers gained the lead after a three-pointer from Corey Sanders put the Knights ahead 44-43 in the early going of the second half. But the Hoosiers were able to go on a key 14-2 run that put the score at 57-46 with 11:16 remaining.

The Knights were not about to fold, however. They fought back into the game, but were never able to string together the stops and clutch shooting necessary to defeat a talented Hoosier team.

Rutgers was able to get into the lane with ease all game long, and outscored Indiana 38-24 in the paint. But the Knights left at least 10 points on the floor with all of the close layups they missed after breaking Indiana down off the dribble in the second half.

On the defensive end, Rutgers was able to force Indiana into 23 turnovers on the game. But rebounds killed the Knights chances to get back into the game when it mattered most. A number of offensive rebounds by the Hoosiers limited the amount of offensive possessions the Knights got after they brought the deficit to six.

On top of their weakness on the glass, the Knights could not stop the long-range assault by Indiana, letting the Hoosiers drop 10 three-pointers on 42 percent shooting.

Although Rutgers was in this game until the very end, it did not make enough plays needed to win against a top Big Ten team such as Indiana.

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