On the road against the Michigan Wolverines March 8, the IU men’s basketball team did everything it could to win.
The Hoosiers hit shots, shooting more than 50 percent for the game. Trailing in the second half, IU went on a late scoring run to tie the game at 75 with one minute and 25 seconds remaining.
After IU tied the game, sophomore guard Nik Stauskas drove to the lane and swung a pass to fellow sophomore guard Glenn Robinson III.
Wide open in the corner, Robinson III pulled up and hit the shot that gave the Wolverines a 78-75 lead with one minute and eight seconds to play.
That basket gave Robinson III 13 points for the half, and he finished with 20 for the game.
Likewise, Stauskas also tore up the Hoosiers, finishing with 21 points, 14 of which came in the second half.
The pair combined to score 27 of Michigan’s 48 second-half points.
IU Coach Tom Crean said his team has struggled to limit bigger wing players in conference play.
“That’s been the one type of player this year that we’ve struggled with maybe more than any other type of player, is that bigger wing that is really strong and powerful and can get to the rim,” Crean said.
At noon today, IU will face a wing player that has given it fits this season.
Junior guard Rayvonte Rice has scored 49 points during two games against the Hoosiers this season. Rice scored 20 points during his team’s 56-46 loss to IU on Jan. 26.
Rice is listed at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, a player who uses his quickness to get by forwards and his strength to finish against guards.
Senior wing Will Sheehey said the Hoosiers must limit Rice’s touches.
“Obviously he’s a great scorer,” Sheehey said. “He can shoot the ball, he drives it well, he’s a strong kid. So we’ve got to make sure we limit his touches.”
Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and Michigan State’s Gary Harris are other Big Ten foes that fit Crean’s description of a bigger wing player that have found success against the Hoosiers.
In two games against IU, Harris scored a combined 50 points. He also scored his career-high 26 points Jan. 4 in Assembly Hall.
Petteway averaged 15.5 points per game in two contests against the Hoosiers. Michigan State and Nebraska went a combined 4-0 against IU this season.
For the season, Rice has averaged 15.7 points per game. He is shooting 41.9 percent from the floor and 31.2 percent from 3-point range.
Rice gets to the free throw line consistently, attempting more than five free throws per game.
He also averages 6.1 rebounds and more than one steal per game.
For IU to defeat Illinois and make its long trek toward what will hopefully be a Big Ten Tournament title, Crean said the
Hoosiers must make sure Rice doesn’t beat them.
“We don’t have one guy that you would look at and say, ‘That’s a really good matchup’ for Rice,” Crean said. “You have to be very good at what you’re trying to take away from that player.”