Mike Woodson did it. Indiana beat Purdue 68-65 on a late three-pointer by Rob Phinisee, ending a nine game losing streak to the Boilermakers and preserving Indiana’s home winning streak. The three was Phinisee’s only make of the second half, but part of a career-high twenty point night in his first career win against Purdue.
Here’s three things:
The Rob Phinisee game
For a significant chunk of the first half, it seemed like Rob Phinisee could not miss. He made his first six shots of the night, before missing a long three with under four to play in the first half. He hit four of his seven three point attempts in the night, including what would be the game winner with 18 seconds left in the game. He also added four steals and four rebounds while recording zero turnovers in 26 minutes of play. His 26 minutes were third most on the team, behind only Race Thompson and Xavier Johnson, who each played 32 minutes.
Perhaps more important than the fact that he hit the game winning shot was the fact that Mike Woodson drew up a play to give Rob the chance to make a game winning shot. This after Rob had missed his last three attempt just five seconds prior. It may seem logical to ride the hot hand, which was clearly Rob tonight, but he has had obvious confidence issues in the past that he’s only recently started to shake off.
Woodson says Phinisee told him to give him the ball. Said they had a new out of bounds play that worked out— Dustin Dopirak (@DustinDopirak) January 21, 2022
Rob is back.
We are in a new age of Indiana Basketball
Tonight’s win was far from perfect and for a while there at the end, it seemed like the Hoosiers were going to blow it. Indiana had a nine point lead at half time and held the lead until Purdue tied it with 3:58 to play. The Mason Gillis layup to give Purdue the lead with 1:11 left would have undoubtedly been the dagger against an Archie Miller Indiana team, but this is not an Archie Miller team anymore. For the first time since February 20, 2016, Indiana beat Purdue.
There were shades of Archieball, like the 30% three-point shooting from Indiana tonight. And there will continue to be, I’m sure. The losing streak to Purdue is finally over though, and this team seems like a safe bet to end the NCAA Tournament appearance drought. Mike Woodson has a signature win now against a potential one seed and has yet to lose a game in Assembly Hall as a coach. Indiana also got 46 points from its backcourt tonight, signaling a significant departure from Miller’s forward-heavy offense.
The refs were atrocious
After letting Nebraska undercut Trayce Jackson-Davis on a layup late in Monday’s victory over Nebraska, Big Ten officials conspired to keep him off the floor in tonight’s game, hitting him with two fouls in the first five minutes of the game, then another quick two when he tried to check back in for the second half. He was kept to 11 minutes tonight, during which he scored just four points and never got any momentum going. Meanwhile, Jalen Ivey shoved Trey Galloway after the whistle right in front of a referee and was for some reason allowed to continue playing in the game.
Complaining about refs is always a little corny, but the way the Big Ten has officiated the best player in the conference over the last two games has been bizarre, to say the least. Between officiating and the horribly-produced broadcast, with bad sound mixing that deadened the Assembly Hall crowd noise and an off-site broadcasting crew, the Big Ten took a lot of the fun out of what should have been their marquee matchup of the season. Cutting away from the court storming to an irrelevant Big East game was another odd choice.
Oh well, the Hoosiers won, I am being nitpicky (we may need to talk about Miller Kopp in the starting lineup at some point though). For the first time in a long time, we have a fun men’s basketball team in Bloomington.