IU set to open Big Ten Tournament against Rutgers

IU set to open Big Ten Tournament against Rutgers

The first year IU coach didn't mince his words. He said, despite a sixth place finish in the Big Ten, he would be surprised if Thursday night wasn't the end of the season for the Hoosiers.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will play the Purdue Boilermakers in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday, start time at 8:55 PM ET, at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.

BC-BKC-B10-Rutgers-Indiana, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 755B1G moment: Rutgers upsets Indiana in conference tournamentAP Photo NYJJ122, NYJJ120, NYJJ119, NYJJ116, NYJJ118, NYJJ117, NYJJ114Eds: Rutgers 76, Indiana 69. In the last 12 seasons, IN has not made it to Saturday's semifinal action of the tournament. Rutgers accomplished the feat by defeating No. 11-seeded Minnesota on Wednesday and then No. 6-seeded IN on Thursday. The Hoosiers had been 6-0 against Rutgers all-time. The Hoosiers had a commanding 24-8 lead and Rutgers appeared to have no answer for the Hoosiers.

"As I told the players, these games aren't easy", Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said, "but we have to continue to stay the course". Back-to-back buckets by Sanders had Rutgers up by three and Geo Baker's 3 from the left wing made it 56-50 for the Scarlet Knights with 5:12 left. "And I was proud of him tonight". Senior guard Robert Johnson said that will give the team confidence going into Thursday's game. "They responded and we never did". The sophomore guard also averages 3.8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. But Rutgers kept hitting shots and IN couldn't get enough defensive stops to give the Hoosiers a chance.

It was part of a head-spinning 21-4 run to close the first half, turning a 16-point deficit into a one-point lead, drawing more of those "R-U, R-U" chants.

"I think it just comes down to us not getting enough stops", said Juwan Morgan, who led IN with 15 points and nine rebounds. "Because if we were getting stops we would have got out and our offense would have been flourishing, but we didn't get those".

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That may indeed be the case, but earlier this season, the Scarlet Knights played the Boilermakers twice and in the second matchup, the final score was 78-76, in favor of Purdue. Rutgers had won two previous Big Ten Tournament games, but both against No. 11 seeds. "I think he has something to prove here".

"If you see Coach in practice you'll be, like, 'Wow, this man really cares", commented Sanders who had 23 points against Minnesota and 28 against Indiana, "That's one thing that stuck with me for the first day he brought me in". Since that point, however, Purdue has won three straight going into the Big Ten Tournament. The second game was February 3.

The Scarlet Knights stunned IN 76-69 on Thursday after falling behind by 14 points.

Sanders made 12-of-20 shots in 34 minutes in the win over the Hoosiers and scored 11 of his points in the last six minutes. Durham hit all 10 of his foul shots for his points. He threw down dunks and soft floaters, beat the shot clock on a few occasions, ringing up a game-high 28 points.

Archie Miller acknowledged that he would be "surprised" if the Hoosiers had a postseason appearance on the horizon and also shot down any chance that the program would participate in any tournament other than the NIT. But IU will have to wait until after there's a week off in between the regular season and selection Sunday.

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