After ending No. 3 Wisconsin’s 16-game winning streak Tuesday night with a 75-72 victory, the Indiana men’s basketball team (12-5, 2-2) has found its footing after opening conference play with two consecutive losses.
For the entire game, Robinson did not attempt a 3-pointer or a jump shot, which was just fine with him.
“Well, Yogi and Will (Sheehey) told me in the beginning of the game that the lanes were open and they told me to just keep going because that’s one of my strong points,” Robinson said. “So two of my leaders telling me to just keep going, I felt like I had the freedom to just be me.”
Robinson played 24 minutes while coming off the bench.
He scored six points in the first half on 3-for-4 shooting, and it was constant driving toward the rim that kept the Hoosier offense from becoming complacent.
During his postgame press conference, IU Coach Tom Crean said he thought his team did a good job of getting to the hoop in the first half.
But during the second half, especially early on, he said he thought his team stopped driving and began settling for jump shots.
Once he entered the game with 15 minutes and 41 seconds remaining in the second half, Robinson went to work.
In addition to his seven second-half points, Robinson also grabbed four rebounds and drew three free throw attempts on a Wisconsin defense that allowed IU only 10 free throws the entire game.
With a raucous crowd back for the first home game of the spring semester, Robinson said the energy in Assembly Hall gave him and his teammates an extra boost.
“For me, being the first time in Assembly Hall with that atmosphere, I know that helped me personally and the team as well,” Robinson said. “It joined us together down the stretch.
“Because I mean, I’m sure everybody was tired. Just hearing that crowd go crazy like that, I know I got a lot of energy. I wasn’t tired after that one.”
Robinson was one of four Hoosiers to score in double figures, along with Ferrell, Sheehey (13) and Vonleh (10).
Graduate student guard Evan Gordon threw in a game-high six assists, a season best for him.
Still, it was Robinson who, along with embracing his role as the de facto attacker on offense, embraced the Hoosier faithful.
After a Wisconsin timeout late in the second half, Robinson turned to the crowd and raised his arms, giving Indiana fans reason to prolong its cheer.
Crean said Robinson is a natural when it comes to driving and finishing at the rim, and that the freshman played a pivotal role in the Hoosiers’ upset victory against the Badgers.
“He’s natural at that. He’s got a gift at that,” Crean said. “And he’s gotten better with his right hand. If you could’ve seen him at the beginning, I mean he didn’t trust his right hand at all. It wasn’t good enough. Now it’s a lot better.
“But he’s got a lot of fight in him. I thought it was a change when we put him in, and put him on (Traevon) Jackson. He was a big part of all of that.”