PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- It's Game 23 for Indiana and we're heading down the home stretch here in the regular season. Tonight it's the Hoosiers against Rutgers in the swamps of New Jersey in an important Big Ten game for both of them.
Both teams are on the NCAA Tournament bubble, so tonight's winner will get a nice boost on the resume. They met earlier this season, with Rutgers winning 74-70 on Jan. 24 in Bloomington.
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If you're not familiar with our live blog, we'll keep you updated with all the news from inside the Rutgers Athletic center, and I'll throw in my two cents and make some opinions as we go. The latest post is at the top, so just keep refreshing and you'll see all of our great stuff.
So here we go! Enjoy the game:
IT'S A FINAL. Rutgers wins 74-63. Story to come
9:45 p.m. – Rutgers is turning this into a literal laugher.
9:42 p.m. – And now the lead gets to 20 for Rutgers, at 65-45. So since that 23-8 start for Indiana, it's been 57-22 Rutgers ever since. The packed-up defense just isn't working for the second straight game.
9:40 p.m. – Khristian Lander makes two great moves to the basket, gets open layups both times -- and misses both times. Rutgers leads 61-45.
9:30 p.m. – Jordan Geromino finally makes an appearance for Indiana. Al Durham, who has 17 points, just picked up his fourth foul. Anthony Leal comes in, hits a three on second possession. Geo Baker hits a long three for Rutgers and it's 57-45 again. Indiana has given up 49 points in the last 18 minutes.
9:18 p.m. – Armaan Franklin did not start the second half for Indiana. Wonder if the ankle is acting up. Rutgers has outscored Indiana 37-12 in the last 11 minutes of game time, which looks very much like the Michigan State game Saturday, when the Hoosiers gave up 45 points in 15-plus minutes.
9:14 p.m. – We're barely a minute in to the second half, and Indiana coach Archie Miller has already had to call a timeout. Rutgers up by seven points now, leading 40-33. Trey Galloway misses a three for the Hoosiers. He's made 1-of-17 from three since Dec. 23.
MORE HALFTIME: Race Thompson played 10 minutes in the first half, wearing a mask after getting hit in the face in practice Tuesday. He was 1-for-2 from the field for two points in the half, with two rebounds. He's mixing it up just fine on the defense end. Rutgers scored 27 points in the final eight minutes of the half.
HALFTIME: And at the half, Rutgers gets a steal just before the buzzer and scores to take a 35-31 lead. Indiana with 9 turnovers. Blew a 15-point lead, too, just like Saturday. Al Durham (14) and Trayce Jackson-Davis (12) playing great. The rest of the team is 2-for-13 from the field, 0-for-3 from three with seven turnovers.
8:48 p.m. – Indiana's 15-point lead is all gone now. Rutgers keeps firing away from three and now Rutgers LEADS 33-29. The Knights have made 7-of-8 threes after that 0-for-7 start. They've all come in the last six minutes, too.
8:40 p.m. – I almost feel sorry for Rob Phinisee. He just seems so uncomfortable out there right now. He's 0-for-3 from the field and has three turnovers already. Rutgers getting hot from three finally – they've made four in a row after missing the first seven attempts – and now Indiana's lead is down to five at 27-22 with 3:53 to go.
8:30 p.m. – We're at the under-8 timeout now, and If we can hear whistles in the crowd, we can hear Al Durham yell 'bank' when makes a three. Hoosiers up 23-11 after Durham's fourth three of the half. Rutgers only eight points in the first 12 minutes of the half. Geo Baker finally hits a three for Rutgers and missing their first seven attempts.
8:22 p.m. – At the under-12 timeout and Indiana still leads by 11, up 19-8. Rutgers is 0-for-5 from three-point range. Al Durham with 11 points, and he's responded well to getting called out by his coach this week. Archie Miller said this game would be determined by the guards, and it looks like he's exactly right so far.
8:12 p.m. – Nice bounce-back from Indiana. A couple of dunks from Trayce Jackson-Davis on some nice action inside, and three three-pointers by Al Durham. Indiana leads 15-4.
8:05 p.m. – An Indiana turnover, 10 seconds in. And 30 seconds later, another turnover.
7:55 p.m. – Indiana has finally made an announcement on Race Thompson. Here it is in its entirety: Indiana University men’s basketball player Race Thompson is wearing a mask as a precautionary measure after being accidently hit in the face in practice Tuesday.
7:45 p.m. – Officials for tonight's game: Bo Boroski, Courtney Green, DJ Carstensen.
7:40 p.m. – RACE THOMPSON IN THE STARTING LINEUP!!!!
7:30 p.m. – Both of these teams are on the 11 line in Mike DeCoursey's bracket, which means whoever loses tonight probably falls to the wrong side of the bubble for the moment. Hence, this is a big one.
7:15 p.m. -- The line of DraftKings.com is still holding steady and 3.5 points on the Rutgers side. Kind of surprising it hasn't moved much all day.
7:05 p.m. -- Race Thompson is dressed and warming up with his teammates here inside the Rutgers Athletic Center. He shot around for a while, and then sat down on the bench with team doctor Larry Rink and teammate Trayce Jackson-Davis. There were rumors since Tuesday night of a broken nose, but an hour before tipoff, there is still no announcement from Indiana about his status.
Be forewarned to not make too much of his being out there shooting around an hour before the game. We still don't know what's up. Joey Brunk was out the floor shooting around a little bit too, and we know he's not playing.
7 p.m. ET -- This is a homecoming of sorts for Indiana freshman Jordan Geronimo, who grew up down the road in Newark, N.J. He didn't play at all on Saturday against Michigan State, and Archie Miller said in hindsight, he should have. Look for him to get a good run tonight in this happy trip back to New Jersey.
6:55 p.m. ET – Indiana has three of the top five most improved scorers in the Big Ten this year. They've all made a nice step up on the offensive end.