1. There was no letdown on the road after losing to Purdue at home. Many of us were worried about how Indiana would respond after Purdue got the brooms out on Thursday night in Assembly Hall. This was a long trip on short rest to New Jersey against a Rutgers team that gave IU all it could handle in Bloomington. But there was no Darkness on the Edge of Town in Piscataway, and in this game Indiana was playing like it was their Glory Days. Rutgers has now lost 11 straight, and a game against a struggling team came at the right time for Indiana.
2. Indiana dared Rutgers to score, and the Scarlet Knights couldn't hit. Back the first game these two teams played, Rutgers was able to stay in the game until the final minute, thanks to good shooting and an off-night from the Hoosiers. This time, the Hoosiers employed a similar game plan, and Rutgers wasn't hitting. Yes, the Scarlet Knights are bottom feeders in the conference, but it was nice to see Indiana at least playing some defense tonight.
3. The rebounding was on point all game. The Hoosiers were hitting the glass all night and outrebounded Rutgers by more than 10. The discrepancy was especially noticeable on the defensive side of the ball, as IU had 34 defensive rebounds to the Scarlet Knights' 23. With Rutgers hitting only 37% of their shots, cleaning up the glass was crucial, and Indiana did their job.
4. HANNER. IU fans have been waiting all season for this performance from Hanner Mosquera-Perea. HMP struggled against Purdue after a fast start, but tonight, the junior big man had 13 points, 5 boards, and went 7-8 from the charity stripe. He also missed a couple other chances from close, including one at the very end of the first half. Overall, it's the first time that we have seen this aggression from HMP in a while, and after being sidelined for 4 weeks with an injury, it was nice to see Air Colombia making a huge impact for the Hoosiers.
5. We got to see some promise from IU's bench. While they didn't have a ton of minutes, the bench players got to see some action in a B1G game after the final TV timeout. Jeremiah April had a nice put-back and another layup, Jordan Fuchs picked up three late boards, and Priller's missed three near the end might have brought the house down. Walk-ons Ryan Burton and Nate Ritchie also got to see the floor.
6. Score one for the East Coasters. Last Monday, the idea of "east coast fans" ruining the Assembly Hall crowd was debunked on this here site. But tonight, IU fans showed that this fanbase is not limited to Hoosier State. Tonight's game was supposed to be a "white-out" for Rutgers, but IU fans wearing red packed the RAC and were loud for much of the contest. After IU lost two games in MSG back in December, the die-hard Hoosier fans in the NYC area were treated to an easy victory in Piscataway tonight.
The Hoosiers improve to 19-9 on their season and get their third conference road win. They are now 9-6 in the B1G and head to Evanston on Wednesday to play a red-hot Northwestern team that beat Penn State by 21 yesterday. The blowout helps, but IU's work is not done yet. With three games left in the regular season, it's time for IU to finish strong if they want to have positive momentum for the postseason.