CHICAGO – It was almost a perfect game for Bernard Robinson. The junior swingman dropped 15 points and ripped down 11 boards against Indiana Friday. Robinson’s eight assists put him just two shy of his first triple double. But even playing one of the best games of his career was not enough for him.
“I just want to win the ball game,” Robinson said. “Whatever I’ve got to do to win the game is the type of game I want.”
Robinson and the rest of the Michigan basketball team fell 63-56 to the Hoosiers in a game the Wolverines controlled for all but the final five minutes.
When word began to circulate that freshman point guard Daniel Horton severely sprained his ankle the night before the game, it was apparent that Robinson would have to pick up some of the slack. Robinson, who had run the point at times this season, would have to fill in if Horton was not going to play. Fortunately, Horton did play Friday, but he was limited in his action due to his injury, and Robinson was called upon to show his versatility.
“Coach (Tommy Amaker) gives me the freedom to do a lot of things and that’s the way he wants me to play day in and day out,” Robinson said. “Having to deliver like that all year around consistently meant I felt pretty good out there. The team as a whole did a good job, we just let a couple of things slip at the end of the game.”
Robinson played an average of 32 minutes a game throughout the season, but Friday his minutes were extended to almost the entire game. In his 39 minutes of action, Robinson moved between the point guard and small forward position and places in between. Near the end of the game, it was becoming apparent that all the minutes were wearing down on Robinson. The lefty was able to drive to the hole, but unable to get his shots to fall around the basket and also had six turnovers, including two late in the game.
“I thought we got a little fatigued in the second half, with the turnovers, you can see that with Bernard,” Amaker said. “And not being able to finish as much. His ability to finish the ball around the rim was not there for us tonight. But I thought he played a tremendous all-around game.”
Trigger finger: Indiana has always been known for its ability to shoot from beyond the arc, but Friday the Hoosiers almost shot themselves out of the game in the first half.
Standout freshman Bracey Wright was 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line, and senior guard Tom Coverdale connected on just three of his dozen attempts from 3-point land. Of the Hoosiers two dozen 3-point attempts, they made just four, with the lone non-Coverdale triple coming from forward A.J. Moye.
“We only had four turnovers but we shot 24 three’s, so 15 of those were like turnovers, so give us 19 turnovers,” Indiana coach Mike Davis said.