Ron Harper Jr. sinks Hoosiers with game-winner after wild finish in Rutgers-Indiana
In a battle of two bubble teams for the NCAA Tournament, Rutgers erased a 7-point halftime deficit and came back to knock off Indiana at the buzzer.
It turned out to be an incredibly wild finish with the two teams trading daggers in the final 30 seconds of regulation. Down 3 points, Indiana’s Parker Stewart drilled a game-tying bucket with 10 seconds remaining to make it 63-all.
The game would have been headed to overtime if not for more late-game heroics from Ron Harper Jr. He came right down the court and drilled a 3-point bucket with 2 seconds remaining. On Indiana’s ensuing inbounds play, Harper tipped the pass and the clock ran out to give the Scarlet Knights a 66-63 victory.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 3, 2022
That wild finish was punctuated by a scuffle on the court and the ejection of Rutgers point guard Paul Mulcahy. After a foul by Xavier Johnson, the two players became entangled. Johnson appeared to initially hold Mulcahy’s arms but it was Mulcahy who appeared to take a swing at Johnson, earning a flagrant 2 and ejection.
One of the big issues for the Hoosiers was a dramatic shift in the production of Trayce Jackson-Davis from the first half to the second half. In the first half, Jackson-Davis put up 15 points. He managed just 4 points after halftime.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, first half vs. Rutgers: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 6-8 FG, 1 block, 1 steal … 0 turnovers
TJD second half: 2 points, 0 rebounds, 1-2 FG, 0 blocks or steals … 2 TO’s
IU won first half 32-25
Rutgers leading second 27-22
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) March 3, 2022
Harper led Rutgers with 19 points and the dramatic game-winner. Cliff Omoruyi continued his solid play and produced a double-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks.
At this point, both teams likely remain on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament though it is a huge boost for Rutgers and a blow for Indiana. Rutgers now has 6 Quad 1 wins this season and ends the year with a game vs. Penn State.
For the Hoosiers, they get a chance to make one final statement before the B1G Tournament with a road trip to West Lafayette to face Purdue. An upset win would do wonders for Indiana’s hopes of earning a bid.