Indiana rallies to beat Rutgers, 72-64

Indiana trailed throughout the game Saturday against Rutgers before rallying in the final 7 minutes to post a 72-64 victory over the Scarlet Knights. The Hoosiers are now 6-3 in Big Ten play at the midway point of the conference season.

It was anything but easy for No. 22 Indiana Saturday afternoon against Rutgers.

Good free throw shooting and solid defense down the stretch turned out to be the difference in a 72-64 Indiana victory that was much closer than the final score would indicate.

Indiana (16-6, 6-3 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak. Rutgers (10-13, 2-8) lost for the sixth game in a row. Interestingly, the Scarlet Knights last victory was a 67-62 win over Wisconsin. That was Wisconsin’s only conference loss of the season.

IU trailed 57-56 with 6:50 to play following a free throw by Kadeem Mack. Rutgers had led by as many as seven in the second at 52-45 with 11:34 remaining.

At that point, the Hoosiers went on an 8-0 run with Nick Zeisloft hitting a pair of 3-point baskets and James Blackmon Jr. scoring on a drive to the basket. That made it 64-57 at the final media timeout with 3:56 to play.

That’s when Indiana took care of the game from the foul line. The Hoosiers hit all eight free throws in the final 2 minutes and 15 seconds with four different players hitting a pair of shots from the line. Blackmon was first, then Yogi Ferrell, then Robert Johnson and finally Zeisloft.

Blackmon Jr. led IU with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. That’s the eighth time this season that Blackmon has eclipsed the 20-point mark for the Hoosiers.

Troy Williams didn’t start Saturday but quickly made up for it with his play. He had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

Ferrell also had 14 points for the Hoosiers and extended his streak to 53 consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal.

As a team, the Hoosiers struggled early from beyond the arc, hitting just four of their first 13 from distance. But IU made four of the last six 3-pointers to close the game.

Indiana is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Big Ten leader Wisconsin.

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