Notebook: Walk-on Ryan Burton sparks IU’s second half run

  • 01/14/2015 8:35 am in

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 contributed a lot to this win,” sophomore Stanford Robinson said. “Without Ryan who knows what would happen.”

Immediately when Burton was put into the game, the Bellarmine University transfer began to make an impact.

He contributed on defense, forcing the Nittany Lions into tough shots. He grabbed offensive rebounds — three, in fact, leading to five second-chance points including a James Blackmon Jr. 3-pointer.

And with Burton on the court, the Hoosiers went on a run. A 51-51 game turned into a 69-59 margin by the time he was substituted off with five minutes of action to his name. The damage had been done, by then.

“He was ready when his name was called,” Crean said. “That’s what you want as much as anything else. But sometimes you’re feeling your way through it, and you’re looking for that dose.”

“I thought Ryan’s five minutes for us were a really, really valuable five minutes.”

Burton would not see the court again after he left the game. But the lead the Hoosiers built with him in the game lasted through the final buzzer in a 76-73 win.

And afterward, the opposing coach had nothing but praise for the Beford native.

“He just defended,” Chambers said, “and does exactly what Indiana basketball preaches.”

Robinson scores 12, 6-of-6 from the line

Robinson recorded a season-high 12 points and 17 minutes of action on Tuesday night, shooting 3-of-6 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 mark on free throws against the Nittany Lions.

But perhaps more interesting was the way Robinson did it — shooting with his left hand instead of his right as he had done much of this season.

“Switching to the right hand was just an experiment,” Robinson said. “(Crean) just wanted to see how it was because it kind of looked better than my left hand, he felt like. It’s still an experiment, but he said whatever you feel is comfortable is going to go to the basket, just do that.”

After Robinson spoke with his parents and Crean about the matter, he chose he felt more comfortable shooting with his left hand.

And on Tuesday, Robinson drove to the basket and shot with confidence, even converting on an acrobatic layup. His perfect line on free throws also was just the third time he had done that this season.

“We’ve got to get into that bonus so we can get to the foul line, and Stan helps things like that,” Crean said. “The defending, really relishing that role, and getting to the glass, playing with strength and force. That’s what he does for us. If he continues to do that, he’ll continue to play.”

Crean elaborates on Mosquera-Perea injury

During his pregame radio show appearance, Crean elaborated on how junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea suffered a right knee injury that now has him sidelined indefinitely.

Crean said that the 6-foot-9 forward “came down the wrong way” and landed on a foot during practice on Monday, and although he was able to walk off the court under his own power the injury still “could be four weeks” to recover from.

Mosquera-Perea was without crutches at Indiana’s game against Penn State on Tuesday, though he had a noticeable limp when he walked.

He had started each of Indiana’s prior 16 games before the injury, averaging 7.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in more than 20 minutes of action per game.

Filed to:

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I don’t see Yogi leaving under any circumstances.

    I don’t see him going to a different school for his senior season; maybe someplace like Duke, Kansas, but I just don’t think he would gain anything by transferring and think he wants to be an IU great — not an IU great who finished his college career elsewhere.

    I also don’t see him going to the NBA because, absent a run in the NCAA tournament that makes him look amazing (ala – Shane Larkin), he’s at best a 2nd round draft pick. Why go to the NBA for a non-guaranteed contract? I just don’t see it.

  • Outoftheloop

    Me too!

  • Outoftheloop

    As Ryan proved, you can have a pretty good game, but if you don’t see the floor, no one will ever know! Give Jeremiah 5-6 minutes to show what 6’10/240 can do!

  • Outoftheloop

    And so is Yogi but SOMEONE has to stop the other team’s break defensively!

  • Outoftheloop

    And the dirtiest player I ever cheered for! GO BULLS!

  • Outoftheloop

    But they were all “tough guys”!

  • inLinE6

    With his size (or lack thereof), it’s never easy to crack into the 1st round draft regardless of his achievement in college. I’m just hoping he does not finish his senior year at another school. I believe he’s on track to graduate after this year.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I believe it was Nate Ritchie who had the D1 offers. Burton is a solid player and he deserves to play with the effort and intensity he’s already shown. Also, Bellarmine probably could’ve beaten last year’s Hoosier squad…

  • ForeverIU

    I hope this performance is one of many to come!

  • SCHoosier

    That walk-on has two years of D-2 b-ball experience and “gets ” what Frosh are still trying to learn.

  • We will, indeed, be the benefactors of mature players, down the road. Yogi won’t leave, as he really has no realistic chance of making it in the NBA. There have been many greater players who never made it there and he doesn’t possess the raw talent.

    I don’t know what people see in him, except lately he’s showing greater value as a distributor. When he attempts to do too much offensively, the team suffers, as he lacks the talent to just score off the dribble…Isaiah Thomas he isn’t. He’s also making fewer turnovers as a distributor.

    The team, in general, looks better than last year’s edition and I think perhaps it’s because we have guys who just don’t like losing. For this smaller team to remain competitive in the B1G, guys like Johnson and Holt have to step it up. The real pleasant surprise has been Troy Williams, who appears to have the potential to average a double-double. He came with much fanfare and his athleticism is really beginning to blossom.

  • Ole Man

    Ritchie is no slouch. He would be a starter at some smaller D-1 programs.

  • Ole Man

    It might not even be so much about the rebounding as about the defense. How are we going to stop anyone inside? Answer: right now we can’t.
    Even Purdue will eat us up inside.

  • Ole Man

    Everyone keeps saying “Yogi will graduate this year.”

    Yet, I have neither read nor heard one whisper about that.
    If you have anything, please share it.
    I believe that rumor started simply because a couple of others did it.
    But, as far as I know, Yogi is on track to grad in four.

  • Rob Mullins

    What, really? Hope you are kidding. Before Rodman went to freakland he was the best defender and rebounder in the NBA period. Never seen anyone work that hard on the court

  • calbert40

    Well, OSU didn’t eat us up inside. OSU had 12 fewer points in the paint than PSU did, and I think we’d all assume that OSU is more talented in its frontcourt than PSU.

    You’re right that we have to play better D, but specific to the PSU game, I felt our rebounding was the biggest issue.

  • Realityvill-an

    true and I agree. however, he still carries the title “walk-on” and is not a scholly player

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree with your assessment of Rodman as one of the greatest defenders of all time. I meant, on the glimpses, that the rebounding only. I don’t think anyone could say with a strait face that we have seen great defense out of Holt yet.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I was a 5’9″ power forward in high school. If you are determined, have good foot work, and make sure you have good positioning before the plays start, you can defend taller players. I often shut down 6’0″ – 6’2″ guys buy just being a pain in the butt (and maybe a tad dirty). It can be done, it’s just difficult.

  • Guisseppe81

    In typical ctc style, Burton did a good job so he’ll probably never get off the bench again.

  • Ole Man

    OSU sure didn’t play like it, did they?

  • Ole Man

    I can appreciate what you’re saying Foy.
    However, the game has changed much since we played.
    Also, huge difference ‘tween our game in HS and the game in the college ranks.
    Those 2 or 3 inches and 30 pounds can make a huge difference, as we have seen.

  • INUnivHoosier

    When Troy dribbles the ball through traffic, I just watch in awe and wonder how the heck it didn’t get stolen. It’s really pretty exciting to watch.

  • INUnivHoosier

    It is troubling if you don’t consider that we have two forwards that would be starting/first off the bench out with injuries and our walk on happens to be a player from a quality DII school who played in 58 games in his career. If Perea and Davis are healthy, Burton doesn’t see the court, and our freshmen have time to develop.

  • calbert40

    I agree. I was 5’9″ also, but a PG, but I loved to go in and scrap for rebounds. Was I above being a little dirty? No. But it got the job done. Size obviously matters (no dirty jokes), but so does heart, desire and effort.

  • calbert40

    Maybe we had something to do with their play, but I was far more impressed with PSU’s front court than OSU’s.

  • David Gaines

    Yogi needs more quality assists to his game. Plenty of times players cutting to the basket with no results. Gotta put that on the green light Cream has given Yogi and James.