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Here's What Rob Phinisee and Xavier Johnson Said After Defeating Purdue in Front of More Than 17,000 Fans

Lafayette native point guard Rob Phinisee had the game of his career putting up the team- high 20 points and finishing off the second half with the last three-pointer of the game. Here's what Phinisee and teammate Xavier Johnson had to say in a post game press conference. Read the transcript, or just watch the attached video.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Lafayette native point guard Rob Phinisee was the star of Indiana's 68-65 win over rival Purdue, the Hoosiers' first victory over the Boilermakers since 2016. More than 17,000 fans in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall celebrated along with the team.

Phinisee put up 20 points, 17 of which were in the first half, in the game and had the last three-point shot before Trayce Jackson-Davis cashed in on a pair of free throws to widen the scoring gap.

Senior guard Xavier Johnson also had a standout night with 18 points. Here's what Phinisee and Johnson had to say in a post game press conference following the win.

Read the full transcript, or watch the attached video of the press conference. 

Q. On getting the win without a steady Trayce Jackson-Davis presence...

XAVIER JOHNSON: We're a great team overall. We have great talent. Coach recruited great talent to come in, and we had talent that actually stayed too as well. We all just came out and competed, and we got the job done, and I'm at a loss of words right now how happy I am.

Q. On what changed from last game to this game for Phinisee...

ROB PHINISEE: I would say just having faith, faith in myself no matter what happens. I actually had a talk with Coach Woodson before shoot-around today, and he told me just if no one else in your corner that he is in my corner. 

We had a really good talk before shoot-around, and that just really boosted my spirits. Finally. We finally beat Purdue. That was, what, 0-6? We just needed this win. We needed this win bad.

Q. On how sweet it is to beat a team in Phinisee's own backyard...

ROB PHINISEE: Great. Every time I go home, people always talk trash to me. I just finally needed to get one. Yeah, that was huge for us. X had a really big game the second half. Michael Durr, he came in when Trayce went down, and everybody really stepped up, and it was a team effort out there.

Q. On the students coming onto the court to greet Phinisee...

ROB PHINISEE: It was hot. It was hot out there, I'll tell you that. No, just something I won't ever forget. Just these fans, they've supported me through everything, so I just want to say thank you. The crowd tonight was huge. They really boosted us. That moment is a moment I will never forget.

Q. On if Phinisee has ever felt this good about a game...

ROB PHINISEE: Honestly, no, not really. In the first half I felt like every time I shot the ball it was going to go in. Coach Woodson, from the jump he knew I struggled last year. 

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He has been saying all the time that he's going to keep believing in me and keep instilling confidence in me. I played my heart out today, played with the heart on my sleeve tonight.

Q. On having this win shush the doubters...

XAVIER JOHNSON: It feels good. Obviously, we see it a lot, but as I said before, only word that matters right now is coaches. It's only one win as well, so we've got plenty more to go.

Q. On what this win does confidence wise for the team...

ROB PHINISEE: It's huge. It's really huge. They're the fourth ranked team in the country, so it's really a schedule booster at the end of the season. Really we just have to celebrate tonight and then tomorrow we're back at it at practice and got to get ready for Michigan. We've just got to take it one game at a time.

Q. On if Phinisee went to IU-Purdue games when he was younger...

ROB PHINISEE: I think I went to one or two back when Purdue — they were really good. JaJuan Johnson and Robbie Hummel and all them. A lot of my family went to Purdue. My mom never really pushed me to be a Purdue fan or an IU fan. I was just a basketball fan when I was a kid. I know the rivalries are super intense, and once I got here, I really actually felt it from just everybody. I know they had a little streak on us, so, yeah.

Q. On Michael Durr's game tonight...

XAVIER JOHNSON: Before the game I told Mike, actually, it's going to be your day, and you know how Trayce was actually feeling, so Mike was actually going to be ready to play. 

Coach told him that he was going to go to him and be ready. For a player not to play as much as he has been in the past and to come out here and compete with those guys in the top five team in the nation, it shows a lot.

ROB PHINISEE: I'll answer. Big Mike, just his spirit in practice really. He came from a program where he played 20, 30 minutes a game and then he hasn't really been playing that much. 

We have Trayce Jackson-Davis. Him just staying ready, coming in and guarding and just his spark. The little mid-range he hit was huge, and just his energy and leadership he brings to the table is really big for us.

Q. On Phinisee getting picked up on the court after the game...

ROB PHINISEE: I was trying to make my way through the crowd to my teammates, and then once we got all in a circle, I think it was X actually who started it. X tried to pick me up and Trayce picked me up, and all the teammates picked me up. Just a surreal experience I won't forget. I just love my teammates, and I love Indiana University. 

  • HERE'S WHAT MIKE WOODSON SAID AFTER INDIANA'S WIN OVER PURDUE: Indiana defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 68-65 in a packed Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. More than 17,000 fans packed the Hall to witness the Hoosiers' first victory over Purdue in six years. Here's what Indiana head coach Mike Woodson had to say in the post game press conference. Read the transcript, or watch the attached full video. CLICK HERE.
  • INDIANA STUNS NO. 4 PURDUE: Lafayette native Rob Phinisee had the game of his life on Thursday night, scoring 20 points and hitting the game-winning three-pointer to beat No. 4 Purdue 68-65. It snapped a nine-game losing streak to his hometown school, and finally gave him some bragging rights. CLICK HERE.
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