Stanford Robinson Archive
Indiana improved to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten on Tuesday night with a 79-76 win over Penn State that came down to the final possession.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the narrow victory over the Nittany Lions:
· Indiana is winning close games, even if it isn’t pretty: The Hoosiers now have three conference wins and all of them have come by five points or less. In the last two, IU’s opponent had a chance to tie the game on the final possession. It’s a dangerous way to live, but so far it’s a change from last season where IU simply didn’t pull out many close games.
The concerning part on Tuesday was that Indiana built a double-digit lead on two occasions and was unable to pull away both times. Penn State deserves credit for battling back, but Indiana also had some empty possessions and mindless turnovers that fueled the Nittany Lions during their runs.
“Fortunately for us, we’re learning how to win close games, which is something we didn’t do a very good job of last year,” Tom Crean said. “We’ve got three wins. They’ve come down to two possessions and the other ones have come down to one possession. Those three wins that we had a year ago was the opposite for us. So our guys are learning how to win those games. We were 2-6, I believe, in one-possession games last year.”
Following an Indiana practice on Monday night, Indiana associate head coach Steve McClain told Tom Crean to not forget about 6-foot-7 walk-on Ryan Burton during Tuesday’s game against Penn State.
Yes, Burton — who had played a total 36 minutes all season heading into Indiana’s 17th game of the season.
“Don’t forget about Ryan,” McClain told Crean. “He has toughness. If we need something, don’t forget about Ryan.”
Crean didn’t forget.
After a seven-point Indiana lead vanished into a 51-51 tie and teams traded fouls and misses, the Hoosiers coach put Burton into the game with 12:03 left on the clock. It was his first action since he played four minutes in the closing moments of Indiana’s win over New Orleans in mid-December.
Penn State coach Patrick Chambers didn’t even have Burton in the scouting report.
Ryan Burton (three rebounds and one assist), Robert Johnson (20 points) and Stanford Robinson (12 points and four rebounds) met with the media following Indiana’s 76-73 win over Penn State on Tuesday at Assembly Hall.
Watch the full press conference below:
The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.
kmark22 in the premium forum writes: Alex, what do you think has really turned around Troy Williams game and has Stanford’s shooting right handed hurt him? He just doesn’t seem comfortable shooting the ball.
Williams was brilliant in Montreal over the summer, but I think the suspension to start the season set him back and there was definitely an adjustment period for him after returning to the lineup. I think his ball handling improved greatly in the offseason and while he still looks to be out of control sometimes when he gets going full steam ahead, his turnover percentage is down more than eight percent. I think his confidence has also grown from the fact that he’s getting the opportunity to act as the primary ball handler in some halfcourt sets.
As for Robinson, there are a couple of problems I see right now. First, he’s really struggling at the foul line, which just about makes it a certainty that he’s going to be on the bench in a close game late. His free throw rate (FTA/FGA) is 72.7 percent, which is excellent, but that’s negated by the fact that he’s hitting just 46.9 percent from the line. It’s tough to say how much of a factor the hand switch has been, but so far, it hasn’t helped the percentages at all. Second, his shot selection has been poor in many instances. He’s taken eight 3-point attempts (all misses), which isn’t his game at all, and he’s also shooting just 40 percent at the rim. On a team that is loaded with offensive options, his chance to see the floor is to play defense and finish at the rim. Unless he’s able to make a bigger impact defensively, he’s probably a fringe rotation guy. — Alex Bozich
@rbkl on Twitter writes: With B1G play full steam ahead, will we ever see Crean run sets with HMP and Holt on the floor together?
As noted in Saturday night’s The Minute After, Stanford Robinson stopped trying to do too much against the Tigers and ended the contest with five assists in 13 minutes of action.
We’ll take a look at him forcing things early followed by three assists in the latest edition of Film Session:
Shortly after checking into the game, Robinson is being tightly guarded at the beginning of an Indiana possession:
He’s able to work his way past the defender and has daylight ahead of him:
When Emmitt Holt’s man comes over to ward off Robinson’s drive to the bucket, Holt is open and moving toward the basket into the paint:
Heading into Saturday night’s game against Savannah State, Indiana did not have the greatest track record against inferior opponents.
They won by just 13 over Lamar — a team that won four games last season. They beat UNC Greensboro by just eight points. And they also lost to Eastern Washington from the Big Sky Conference.
But on Saturday, the Hoosiers took care of business in Assembly Hall, dominating the Tigers en route to a 95-49 victory to extend their record this season to 7-1.
“Well, really, we learned that from our Eastern Washington game — if you don’t get up for a team, they start to gain confidence and they think that they can play with you,” freshman James Blackmon Jr. said. “Tonight we just wanted to start from the beginning and that’s what we did.”
The Hoosiers did get off to a slow start against Savannah State as they led just 10-9 with 14:55 to go in the first half. But from there, the Hoosiers did not look back.
Savannah State’s offensive ineptitude combined with an improved defensive effort from the Hoosiers led to a 43-17 margin at halftime. The Tigers were averaging just 0.49 points per possession. Indiana limited their offensive rebound percentage to just 14.3 percent as well.
It wasn’t easy, but Indiana passed its first legitimate test of the season on Thursday night with a 74-68 win over No. 22 SMU at Assembly Hall.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s win over the Mustangs:
· Turnovers tell the story: When Larry Brown and his staff go back and look at this loss, the glaring number that will stand out for the Mustangs is turnovers: 19 of them. SMU shot an effective field goal percentage of close to 62 percent, won the rebounding battle and still lost by six because it turned it over on 28.4 percent of its possessions.
Indiana, on the other hand, has been justifiably criticized for turnovers in the past but only turned it over on 10.5 percent of its possessions on Thursday night. Nick Zeisloft, James Blackmon Jr. and Yogi Ferrell combined for 49 points and no turnovers.
In a game that was played much more in the halfcourt than IU’s previous two contests (67 possessions), it’s solid progress for this group to take care of the ball that well against the length and athleticism of SMU.
· James Blackmon took over offensively: Indiana didn’t shoot the ball well from the field as a team, but James Blackmon Jr. again showed efficiency as he hit 7 of his 15 field goal attempts and also went 7 of 7 from the foul line for 26 points.