Indiana bounced back from a home loss to Purdue with an 84-54 blowout win at Rutgers on Sunday night. The Hoosiers are now 19-9 overall and 9-6 in Big Ten play. Here are five things I'm thinking about following the win.
1. GETTING RID OF THE BAD TASTE: There's no doubt Indiana was feeling bad about itself after Thursday night. The Hoosiers were swept by their hated rival, and they blew a late opportunity to win for the second time in three games.
Sunday's game was important because it allowed the Hoosiers to get that nasty taste of defeat out of their mouths against a bad opponent. Rutgers is getting worse as the season goes on, and I still have no way of explaining how this team beat Wisconsin earlier in the season. [Yes, I know. No, Frank Kaminsky. No Traevon Jackson. Save it ... no excuse.]
Indiana let the Scarlet Knights hang around in the first half because of some careless turnovers, but it took care of business and beat Rutgers down in the second half, and that's important for the psyche of this team going forward.
2. A CONSISTENT HANNER WOULD MEAN...: I understand this is a question we've all had since Hanner Mosquera-Perea got here three years ago, but it's still a relevant one. Mosquera-Perea took another positive step on Sunday, scoring a career-high 13 points on 3-of-3 shooting and 7-of-8 from the foul line. Most importantly, he didn't pick up any fouls in the first half.
Mosquera-Perea was great early against Purdue on Thursday -- he had 10 first-half points -- but he disappeared after he picked up two fouls and he had only one rebound in the game. That inconsistency has frustrated Indiana fans since Mosquera-Perea arrived in Bloomington, but it is encouraging that he managed to show bright flashes in back-to-back games after returning from a knee injury that kept him out for a month. If this Mosquera-Perea showed up on a consistent basis, Indiana would be a different team. Maybe this is a sign of things to come, or maybe it's a deceiving two-game stretch. We will see.
3. DEFENSE!?: That's right, Indiana played strong defense on Sunday. Sure, Rutgers was terrible on offense. The Knights took terrible shots and they turned it over in bunches. That contributed to their 37 percent shooting and 54 total points, but the Hoosiers also had something to do with that, and that's not always the case. Bouncing back with 84 points and win on the road is one thing, but doing both of those things and playing better defense is even more important.
4. IS HARTMAN OK?: Collin Hartman left Sunday's game in the second half after banging his left knee/shin on the knee of a Rutgers player. Hartman got up, began to limp off the floor, then stopped and bent over in pain again. Hartman did not return to the game. The sophomore missed most of the summer after suffering an injury to his right knee last March, so it's not anything to do with that leg. I'm sure Tom Crean will update it in his postgame press conference, and I will update this post when he does.
5. PATIENT GAME FOR YOGI: Yogi Ferrell was at his best on Sunday night. The junior point guard served as a facilitator in the first half and searched for his offense later in the game. That's when the Hoosiers are really dangerous. But for that to work, other guys have to make shots early, like James Blackmon Jr. did against Rutgers. Ferrell finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes.