Indiana Rutgers Basketball

Rutgers guard Montez Mathis (23) hangs on the rim after this slam dunk during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 in Piscataway, N.J.

Winning of the road in the Big Ten Conference has been tough for almost every team. Doing it at Rutgers has been impossible so far.

Akwasi Yeboah had 14 points and seven rebounds and the surprising Scarlet Knights pushed their home record to 12-0 with a 59-50 victory over visiting Indiana on Wednesday night.

“We have great fans and the atmosphere is amazing," Yeboah said. "We just kind of made it a tradition to win at home. It's just a different energy at home. When you talk about the importance of winning at home, you win your home games and you are set.''

This has been a totally unexpected season for Rutgers (13-4, 4-2 Big Ten). It was picked to finish 12th in the league's preseason poll and now it is in position to post its first winning season since 2005-06, the last time it went to a postseason tournament.

Indiana coach Archie Miller called the Scarlet Knights one of the best teams in the league after seeing the Hoosiers (13-4, 3-3) held to a season low points total.

“They are impressive with their effort level, especially in here, they have this place charged up,” said Miller, whose team was coming off a win over then-No. 11 Ohio State. “This is a difficult game. We didn't handle the environment early.''

Rutgers used a 24-6 spurt bridging the end of the first half and the start of the second and a tenacious defense in taking control. During the game-deciding run, it got points from eight players, with none scoring more than four points. It turned a 22-21 first-half deficit into a 45-28 lead and the game was over.

“Winning is fun," said guard Geo Baker, who returned to the lineup after missing three games with a broken left thumb and put an exclamation point on the win with a late one-handed dunk.

“You can't really have fun going to parties, that's temporary," Baker added. “Winning is forever. That's something we want to prove. We want to win every single game."

Caleb McConnell added 10 points for Rutgers, which shot almost 47 percent from the field.

Justin Smith had 15 points to lead Indiana. Aljami Durham added 10 points and Joey Brunk had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hoosiers shot 31.7 percent from the field (19 of 60), including 2 of 19 from long range. They did not make a 3-pointer until Durham hit one with 5:18 to play. The last time Indiana did not hit a 3-pointer in a game was Feb. 25, 2010 against Wisconsin.

“The game is dictated by the team that sets the rules,” Miller said. “Rutgers set the rules right at the tap. We had to adjust and fight through it. The game was fast on offense for us. They worked. They pressured. Their big guys did a good job of making things difficult around the rim. We got very few easy ones.''

Rutgers opened the game with a 12-0 run only to see the Hoosiers come back and take a 22-21 lead on a layup by Smith.

A 3-pointer by Ron Harper Jr. put Rutgers in front for good, and Jacob Young followed with a layup off a steal. Freshman Paul Mulcahy added a 3-pointer to stretch the margin to 29-22 and the Scarlet Knights went to the locker room ahead 31-24.

McConnell hit from inside to open the second half and Yeboah nailed a 3-pointer to start a 14-4 run that put the game out of reach.

INDIANA ST. 65, EVANSVILLE 42

Tyreke Key registered 13 points and five steals as Indiana State extended its home winning streak to seven games, rolling past Evansville in Terre Haute.

Cooper Neese had 12 points for Indiana State (10-6, 3-2 Missouri Valley Conference). Tre Williams added 10 points. Jake LaRavia had 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Sam Cunliffe had 12 points for the Purple Aces (9-9, 0-5), whose losing streak stretched to five games. Jawaun Newton added seven rebounds. Shamar Givance had six rebounds.

NORTHERN IOWA 88, VALPARAISO 78

AJ Green scored 22 of his 29 points in the second half and Northern Iowa rallied to beat Valparaiso 88-78 on Wednesday night.

The Panthers had 10 turnovers in the first half that Valparaiso, which shot 53%, turned into 16 points, to trail 42-36.

Northern Iowa, which closed the first half with a Spencer Haldeman 3-pointer, scored the first 17 points of the second half, hitting every shot - six field goals, including three 3-pointers, and two free throws. Green had 10 points.

Valparaiso clawed back, getting within one point on two occasions but in the last minutethe Panthers made 7 of 8 free throws for their fourth-straight win.

Isaiah Brown had 16 points and six assists for Northern Iowa (15-2, 4-1 Missouri Valley Conference), Trae Berhow added 15 points and Austin Phyfe scored 15 with eight rebounds.

Northern Iowa scored a season-high 52 second-half points.

Javon Freeman-Liberty scored 28 points with eight rebounds for the Crusaders (9-9, 2-3), Ben Krikke added 13 and Mileek McMillan 11.

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