Indiana Basketball: Rob Phinisee proves to be stabilizing force for Hoosiers

Indiana Basketball, Rob Phinisee (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Indiana Basketball, Rob Phinisee (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The Indiana basketball program got back to its winning ways on Tuesday night thanks to the return of sophomore guard Rob Phinisee.

It was an ugly game on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, but as the saying goes, ‘a win is a win’, and that is exactly what Indiana basketball proved against UConn. With a nice bounce back win after the Wisconsin debacle, the Hoosiers also received another victory moving forward.

It had been four games since sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee had taken the floor for live game action, and even up until an hour before the Jimmy V Classic was underway, it was unclear if Phinisee would be available to play.

Archie Miller wasn’t even sure how much he would play or what impact he would have if he took the floor. Quickly after he checked into the game, Indiana fans knew exactly what he was going to bring.

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Taking the floor to a standing ovation, Phinisee wasted no time getting in the middle of the action with a rebound and then going full court for a tough layup to really give the Hoosiers some energy after another poor start.

Throughout the season thus far, the Indiana trio of Al Durham, Armaan Franklin, and Devonte Green have been able to shoulder the load of the ball handling duties while Phinisee worked his way back, but on Tuesday, Phinisee proved to everyone that he was the guy, despite playing just 13 minutes.

With six points, four rebounds, and two assists, his presence was felt far beyond the box score. Whether it be on the defensive end helping force the UConn guards into 16 turnovers, or his calmness on the offensive end allowing the Hoosiers to run their offense, Phinisee was that rock for Indiana.

The ultimate floor leader for this Indiana team, the offense has a different kind of confidence and swagger with the West Lafayette native on the floor. Though Phinisee isn’t the tallest, the quickest, or best scorer, the stabilizing force that he has when the ball is in his hands is uncanny.

Even back to last season when the Hoosiers started their downward spiral, Phinisee was the guy who, once he returned to the lineup and was fully healthy, sparked Indiana’s late season run.

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Through 10 games this year, his importance has been stressed even more, and on a night in which the Hoosiers failed to quit, it was Phinisee’s confidence that led the charge, and will continue throughout the season for Indiana.