Williams and Robinson make season debuts vs. SMU

His punishment led him behind the scenes — the last place Troy Williams wanted to be as a new season unfolded.

But that’s where Williams was forced to watch Indiana’s first four games, including two exhibitions, as he and teammates Stanford Robinson and Emmitt Holt served suspensions for preseason missteps.

And that’s where Williams said he began to learn a lesson about appreciating the opportunity he has in front of him.

“After this experience, it actually means a lot more to me now, you know what I mean?” Williams said after Thursday’s 74-68 win over No. 22 SMU. “I wouldn’t say I take it for granted, but I see how other people see it. I now see what kind of position I uphold now, so it’s just a new look on everything.”

Thursday was Williams’ first game back after he and Robinson reportedly failed drug tests during the summer. The sophomore forward came off the bench to score 11 points and grab four rebounds in 23 minutes, adding some much needed length to the Hoosiers’ lineup rotation.

“I was really glad to be back and out there in the war again with my team and my brothers,” Williams said. “I just came in with so much anxiety because I was ready to play.”

He and Robinson made their presence felt off the bench. Robinson played only nine minutes, but entered the game as an aggressive backcourt option, who was able to penetrate and dish against SMU’s size.

“I think Stan didn’t play a lot of minutes, but he went in and impacted the game because he changed the dynamic of the game, and that is a huge thing,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “Momentum is always up for grabs in a game. It doesn’t come down to a starter. It doesn’t matter who it is. It doesn’t matter who it is, it can come a lot of different ways. Who has momentum the longest and last usually wins a close game. But he came in when we were a little more perimeter oriented and helped us get a little more attack oriented.”

Holt was suspended for role in the accident involving teammate Devin Davis. The freshman from New York was dressed and available to play, but did not see the floor.

“It just wasn’t the night to go in,” Crean said. “We went a little bit smaller, but he’s worked hard and confidence with playing him. He’s obviously been through a lot. He’s handling it, and he’s growing up, and he works hard every day, and there is a place for him on that court too.”