By Michael Marot, AP Sports Writer
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Rob Phinisee spent the first part of this season watching his Indiana teammates do the heavy lifting as he recovered from injuries.
On Friday night, he finally showed everyone what he could do when healthy.
The sophomore guard scored seven of his season-high 16 points at the start of overtime, set up another basket with an assist and helped the Hoosiers hold off Nebraska 96-90.
“It was very satisfying actually,” he said. “I really made shots when my team needed them and really just tried to make a big play when my team needed it.”
And on a night the Hoosiers defense got shredded again, the Hoosiers needed everything Phinisee could muster as he tries to play himself back into game shape.
He’s already missed five games this season with abdominal and ankle injuries as well as a concussion, and after playing a key role in Tuesday’s victory over Connecticut, Phinisee went 6 of 10 from the field, made two 3-pointers and dished out four assists — logging a season-high 26 1/2 minutes.
“Rob being back basically saved us all week,” coach Archie Miller said. “He’s a guy who’s engaged and you could tell tonight he’s a guy who’s got his bounce back.”
Phinisee had plenty of help as Indiana (10-1, 1-1 Big Ten) won its second straight.
Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 22 of his season-high 25 points in the second half and grabbed 15 rebounds for his fifth double-double. Justin Smith also added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cornhuskers (4-6, 0-1) certainly made things difficult.
They rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final four minutes of regulation, forcing overtime when Dachon Bruke Jr. made a 3 to tie the score at 82 with 1 second left. He finished with a career 25.
But Phinisee opened the overtime by driving for the go-ahead layup. And after Jackson-Davis made 1 of 2 free throws, Phinisee knocked down a 3 to make it 88-82, drove for a layup to give the Hoosiers a five-point lead and then dished to Jackson-Davis for another layup to make it 94-88.
Nebraska didn’t get closer than two the rest of the game.
“Disappointing, obviously, but I told our guys if we go out and play with that kind of effort we’re going to have a chance to win a lot of games this year,” Cornhuskers coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We got the ball where we wanted to get it most of the night, unfortunately, we didn’t do it late.
Nebraska: With 14 newcomers this season, the Cornhuskers needed some time to time to jell. But in their sixth consecutive game outside of Lincoln, it looks like Nebraska may have found a solution — even without starting guard Jervay Green. Nebraska played a solid game, especially defensively, and repeatedly took advantage of Indiana’s defensive breakdowns to get to the rim.
Indiana: When the Hoosiers failed to knock out Nebraska early, they settled down and gutted out another victory. While the early season schedule hasn’t produced a lot of wins over impressive teams, Indiana has continued to demonstrate its toughness by fighting through scoring droughts, overcoming obstacles and finding different ways to win.
Nebraska: Before the game, school officials announced Green had been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. … Cam Mack had 15 points and 10 assists while Yvan Ouedraogo had nine points and 10 rebounds. … Thorir Thorbjarnarson had 17 points. … The Cornhuskers forced 15 turnovers, committed nine and went 12 of 32 on 3s. … Nebraska has lost three straight overall and had its longest winning streak in the series end at three.
Indiana: Phinisee also had four assists and Aljami Durham scored 14 points. … The Hoosiers had a 54-31 rebounding advantage and went 27 of 38 at the free-throw line compared to Nebraska, which was 12 of 18 on free throws. … Indiana was 5 of 25 on 3s. … Starting guard Devonte Green played only 4 1/2 minutes after halftime because his Achilles tendon was bothering him, Miller said.
The Cornhuskers host Purdue on Sunday, their first home game since Nov. 22.
Indiana takes a week off before returning to action against Notre Dame in Indianapolis on Dec. 21.
© 2019, Newspaper Staff. All rights reserved.
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