phinisee

It finally happened.

The Hoosiers welcomed in-state rival No. 4 Purdue to Assembly Hall on Thursday night for what ended up being an instant classic in their all-time series. It was close throughout the entire game, but in the end it was “big shot” Rob Phinisee who gave the Hoosiers one last basket when they needed it most to push IU over Purdue, 68-65.

It was the normal starting five for the Hoosiers as they faced off against their in-state rival. Xavier Johnson and Parker Stewart controlled the backcourt while Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis held down the frontcourt for the Hoosiers.

To start the game Indiana could not find any success scoring the ball as Purdue got out to an early 7-0 run behind multiple paint touches for Purdue big man Zach Edey. The Hoosiers were 0-for-4 from the field to start.

Xavier Johnson got the Hoosiers some momentum attacking the rim and creating for others. He scored six of the first eight Hoosier points and assisted on the other two.

At the first media timeout IU trailed 12-8.

IU started the game just 3-for-12 (25%) from the field and trailed 16-8 with 11:50 remining in the first half.

Behind the slow start on offense and Jackson-Davis picking up two early fouls and it looked like the Hoosiers were in for a long night. In came senior point guard Rob Phinisee.

The Lafayette native not only had his best game against Purdue, or his best game of the season, but possibly the best game of his career in just the first half. Phinisee finished the half with a career-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting (3-of-5 from three), three rebound, and four steals.

After trailing by as many as eight points early, the Hoosiers fought back to tie the game at 24 after a Jordan Geronimo slam with 5:26 remaining in the half. Geronimo not only tied the game up for the Hoosiers but made play after play on both sides of the ball.

IU went on an 8-0 run and held the Boilermakers to a scoring drought of over four minutes. The most impressive part of all of it was that they did it with their All-American on the bench. Jackson-Davis played just six total minutes in the first half.

The Cream and Crimson finished the first half on a 29-12 run to capture a 37-28 lead at the break.

The second half started like the first half. Indiana could not find much success on offense while Purdue went on an 8-0 run. The nine-point halftime lead was trimmed to just one with 15:34 remaining in the game. Purdue got easy looks in transition off poor shot selection from Indiana that allowed them to crawl their way back into the game.

After only scoring four first half points, Jaden Ivey had 15 total points in the first nine minutes of the second half. The Boilermakers second half gameplan was to run and go through Ivey, rather than Edey.

Xavier Johnson kept the lead in the second half for the Hoosiers. The senior guard had 18 points with nine minutes to go in the game while his backcourt partner, Phinisee, still had 17.

The IU guards combined for 38 of Indiana’s 68 points in the game and IU held onto a three-point lead at the under-8 media timeout, 59-56.

Purdue tied the game off an Ivey floater at 63 with just over three minutes remaining.

With 1:21 remaining, Jackson-Davis went to the foul line with a chance to put Indiana up by two and missed both attempts. The very next play Purdue scored on an out of bounds play to take the lead with 50 seconds left.

Then came the shot.

After Indiana missed ten of the last 11 shots, Rob Phinisee added to his career highlight of knocking down big shots as he nailed the corner three with just 16.9 seconds remaining to give Indiana the one-point lead.

When asked after the game about the play call head coach Mike Woodson said, “I came out of the one timeout and he said give me the ball…run a play for me”.

After the game the Lafayette native said, “[The shot was] just a surreal experience that I won’t forget anytime soon.”

Indiana held on to their lead and picked up their first victory over Purdue in nearly five years and knocked off the No. 4 team in the country, 68-65.

What’s Next?

Up next for the Hoosiers is another home matchup, this time against Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday, Jan. 23 at 3:30 on CBS.

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