Rutgers gave Indiana a scare, and pushed the Hoosiers to a tight finish, but 10 missed layups later and the Scarlet Knights begin Big Ten play with a loss.
“That’s just point-blank – we’ve got to finish, myself included,” said captain Greg Lewis, who scored 13 points with nine rebounds on 5-of-11 shooting. “We can’t have those missed opportunities in big games.”
Rutgers finished the first half on a 9-2 run with a sharp transition attack and more explosiveness from Grier. The run concluded when Sanders hit a go-ahead three but Indiana simply took over after the shot.
The Hoosiers, down 44-43 at Rutgers, broke out with an 11-0 run and quelled any hopes of a Scarlet Knight upset.
“It’s extremely tough,” Grier said. “Going down the stretch and you look at the score and you’re saying, ‘if we would have made those layups, the game would have been different.’”
Sanders got Rutgers to as close as six points multiple times with 15 of his 17 scored in the second half. Rutgers forced 23 turnovers, including five Bishop Daniels steals.
“It proved to us that we can play much better than, maybe, we think,” Lewis said. “We have a lot of potential.”