Piscataway, N.J. — After falling to .500 coming off four straight losses at the end of a stretch of seven games in 17 days, Indiana was desperate for a win to keep the rebuild season meaningful.
Juwan Morgan and Robert Johnson helped the Hoosiers do just that.
Morgan had 24 points and eight rebounds and Johnson scored 19 points to lead Indiana past Rutgers 65-43 on Monday night.
“We had two keys in the game, they were Morgan and Johnson,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “Obviously didn’t do a good job on either of those.”
Indiana (13-12, 6-7 Big Ten) opened a 42-22 lead with 12½ minutes remaining after Josh Newkirk found Collin Hartman for a 3-pointer, causing Rutgers to call a timeout. Indiana would lead by as many 24.
“It feels good. We’ve been having a lot of back-to-back games so it’s been tiring, so it’s good to have a break,” Indiana guard Devonte Green said, adding, “it gives us a little bit of confidence.”
The Hoosiers jumped to a 5-0 lead before making it 11-2. Rutgers was held under 10 points until 6:31 left in the first half, when Geo Baker hit a 3-pointer to make it 24-11. Indiana took a 26-16 lead into halftime.
“The one thing is, you can’t make excuses,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “You can’t use turnarounds and things like that as excuses, you have to be ready. When the ball is tipped, the most ready team usually has the best chance to get off to a good start. I thought tonight we were ready.”
Baker finished with 10 points.
Rutgers (12-14, 2-11) was led by Deshawn Freeman, who had 13 points, eight rebounds and three steals, as the Scarlet Knights shot 24.1 percent (13 of 54) from the field and tied their lowest scoring output of the season.
“Just keeping to our principles. What we practice every day on,” Freddie McSwain Jr. said of the team’s defense. “It was just a great team defense and everybody just being scrappy.”
No. 19 West Virginia 75, (at) No. 17 Oklahoma 73: Lamont West scored 17 points, and No. 19 West Virginia survived a 32-point night from Oklahoma’s Trae Young. Esa Ahmad and Sagaba Konate each scored 14 and Jevon Carter added 10 points, eight assists and six steals for the Mountaineers (18-6, 7-4 Big 12), who swept the regular-season series and moved within a half-game of conference co-leaders Kansas and Texas Tech.
Young, the freshman who leads the nation in scoring and assists, had just one assist.
Brady Manek scored 12 points and Khadeem Lattin had 13 rebounds and four blocks for the Sooners (16-7, 6-5).
Rashad Odomes made a layup to cut West Virginia’s lead to 74-73 with 24.3 seconds to play. Oklahoma struggled to get the ball upcourt after Ahmad made one of two free throws with 13 seconds remaining, and Odomes missed under duress in close in the final seconds.
Carter sliced through Oklahoma’s defense for a layup at the first-half buzzer to give West Virginia a 50-40 lead. The Mountaineers shot 57 percent from the field and made 8 of 13 3-pointers before the break. Young scored 17 points in the first half and had just one turnover, but the Sooners couldn’t stop the Mountaineers.
Oklahoma held the Mountaineers scoreless for more than five minutes to start the second half and closed the deficit to 50-45. West Virginia got it going again, and a dunk by Konate put the Mountaineers up by 11.
Young hit two 3-pointers to help the Sooners cut West Virginia’s lead to 63-57 midway through the second half. He made a layup that nearly hit the top of the backboard to get the Sooners within 66-63, and the game was close the rest of the way.