Indiana men’s basketball will be without its backup point guard and the hero from its win over Purdue when it takes on Maryland at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in College Park, Maryland.
Senior guard Rob Phinisee, who was carried to the locker room Wednesday in Indiana’s blowout win over Penn State, is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot and could be considered day-to-day, head coach Mike Woodson said at media availability Friday. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue underneath the foot which connects the heel bone to the toes.
“Wish I had him, but it’s next man up,” Woodson said.
When Phinisee went down after grabbing a rebound in the first half on Wednesday, fans wondered if sophomore guard Khristian Lander would take the court. He didn’t, but Woodson clarified after the game he’s also dealing with an injury and wasn’t able to play.
Woodson said Lander might be able play limited minutes in relief of starting senior guard Xavier Johnson, and he said the team would know more about his status on Saturday. Outside of Lander, Woodson said sophomore guard Trey Galloway and freshman guard Tamar Bates, who normally play shooting guard, could also play at the point guard position off the bench Saturday.
Luckily for the Hoosiers, Johnson put together his best stretch of games over the past week, averaging 17 points, 4.6 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting over 50% from 3-point range. He’s the only Hoosier to score in double digits each of the last three games.
While Indiana has some options at the point guard position, atypical as they may be, Woodson said whoever comes in for Johnson will be based on who plays well.
“If he’s gotta go 40 minutes, hell, we’ll play him 40 minutes,” Woodson said.
While its options may be thin at the guard positions, Indiana will have to deal with an opponent that is strong offensively from the perimeter. Maryland starts three guards, senior Eric Ayala, graduate student Fatts Russell and junior Hakim Hart, who all average at least 9.5 points per game on more than 30% shooting from 3-point range.
Maryland’s 3-point shooting over the past week, a 44% mark, has fueled a two-game win streak over then-No. 17 Illinois and Rutgers. Woodson said Indiana will have to watch out for Maryland’s drives to the basket as well.
“It’s a big dribble drive team, a big isolation team, so I mean it’s no surprise,” Woodson said. “We gotta defend off the dribble and we gotta do it for 40 minutes.”
Maryland, which is 11-9 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten this season, is looking for its first three-game win streak of the season, while Indiana is looking to build off its first road win of the season against Nebraska on Jan. 17 and improve on its 1-4 record outside the state.
Follow reporters Kamil Gut (@GutKamil) and Tristan Jackson (@Trist_Jackson), and columnist Da’Qwan Dockery (@ddockery35) for updates throughout the game and the rest of the Indiana men’s basketball season.
Location: XFINITY Center, College Park, Maryland
Radio: IU Radio Network