Certain wins can launch a season; certain performances can launch a career. Both remain to be seen, but what Stan Robinson did against Wisconsin has the potential to do both.
After netting a career-high 11 points against Michigan State, Robinson topped that by going for 13 in the Hoosiers 75-72 upset win over the #3 ranked Badgers. Not only was his offense rolling, but the freshman from Maryland was also entrusted to be a defensive linchpin in both games as well.
Against the Badgers, Robinson was relentless when the team needed it most, making clutch layups down the stretch to keep the Hoosiers in front. Looking more like a veteran, Robinson grew more and more comfortable driving to the basket as the game progressed.
It’s no shock his teammates were impressed. Probably the most were senior Will Sheehey, and he said as much postgame.
“Stan came off the bench and absolutely killed it,” Sheehey proclaimed.
For the older generation who is reading this, that’s what we young folks say when someone did something good.
Aside from what shows up on the stat sheet, Robinson infused the lineup with energy according to Head Coach Tom Crean. That aspect occasionally goes unnoticed by the fans, but never by the coaching staff.
“He’s got a lot of fight in him,” Crean remarked. “I thought there was a difference when we put him in.”
That “difference” Crean is talking about could have been the margin between victory and defeat against a very talented Wisconsin team. After the loss to Indiana, the Badgers dropped to 16-1 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.
Wins like these are becoming increasingly difficult to quantify. As the IU program has risen back to national prominence, these victories, too many, should be common.
Not with this team, however.
Before Tuesday night’s game, Indiana was 0-3 against ranked teams, not to mention, dropping games that many believed they could have won against Notre Dame and Illinois.
This game certainly meant something to a team searching for a quality win.
“To me, the team needs this. I mean, we’ve had a long week from Michigan State to Penn State, but we got a lot better,” Crean said. “We got a lot better in the last couple of days.”
The improvement in the last couple of days has been huge for a team that was struggling for confidence. Dropping three straight in conference play would have been deflating, the comebacks in the past two games have been nothing short of remarkable.
Now that Indiana finally has momentum on their side and a signature win under their belt, things are only looking up for the Hoosiers at the moment. Their NCAA Tournament chances, seemingly left for dead just last week now has some life.
Those changes may still be on life support, however, they’re beginning to breathe.
With new life, has also come the realization of how talented a player Stan Robinson is and can become as time goes on. Putting up 13 points against the Badgers may have been his coming out party; Indiana has to hope it’s only the beginning of things to come.
It’s clear that even when Robinson’s shot isn’t there, the team can count on him to lock down the opposing teams leading scorer. Continuing to display such skills will make his current stretch seem almost ordinary.
On a night where Indiana notched their elusive signature win; Hoosier fans got a glimpse of things to come from Stan Robinson. A performance that many hope propels this team and his career.