I'm not going to lie. It wasn't a thrilling night in Big Ten hoops last night. You can tell that from the headline. The good news is that we're hard-core fans here at BT Powerhouse, so we're going to review the night anyway. After all, we've still got a few hours until Michigan State and Duke tip off.
Storyline of the Night
I'm pretty intrigued by what Northwestern did last night. At this time of year, if teams go on the road it's to a tournament in a sunny vacation locale like the Bahamas or Puerto Rico. Apparently Chris Collins' idea of a vacation is Providence, Rhode Island, because that's where the Wildcats were last night. No, they were not playing the Friars. That would have been awesome. Instead, Northwestern had its intellect tested against the Bears of Brown University. Hey isn't that the school Brian got kicked out of on Family Guy?
Game of the Night: Northwestern at Brown
Sexy freshman addition Vic Law scored just four points, but Northwestern still came back to Evanston with a 69-56 victory by holding Brown to 36-percent field goal shooting. JerShon Cobb canned three treys on his way to 16 points on just seven shots, while Sanjay Lumpkin flashed some sophomore sizzle with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Another freshman, Bryant McIntosh shot just 2-for-10 from the field, but he also led the team with five assists. Law dished out four dimes himself and is proving to be quite the versatile player.
Texas Southern at Indiana
James Blackmon Jr. has proven to be the real deal so far with two big games versus over-matched opponents. In the season opener against Mississippi Valley State, the freshman from Fort Wayne scored 25 points, and he had 19 more in Monday's night's 83-64 drubbing of Texas Southern. Blackmon wasn't the only phenom to shine for the Hoosiers, though. Fellow freshman Robert Johnson had a ridiculous game with 21 points, six assists and five rebounds. That made for Johnson's second straight game with at least 15 points, five rebounds, five assists, and over 50 percent field goal shooting. The youngsters' ability to shoot from distance (each went 3-for-4 from three-point range) is proving to be a nice kick in the butt for the Indiana offense.
Central Connecticut State at Maryland
You know what they say. Anytime the Terps and Blue Devils get together, it's going to be a heck of a game. Maybe not these particular Blue Devils, though. Maryland defeated Central Connecticut State 93-57 in College Park last night with much thanks to Dez Wells scoring 27 points while making two-thirds of his shots. On defense, Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky combined for seven blocks to hold Central Connecticut State to 35-percent shooting despite 24 points from sophomore guard Matt Mobley. Both Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley pitched in 10 points for the Terps, with Trimble also notching nine rebounds and four assists.
Bucknell at Michigan
In its first Division I game of the season, Michigan prevailed over Bucknell 77-53 last night. Junior guard Chris Hass drained five threes and scored 21 points for the Bison, but that was countered easily by four threes and 23 points from Zak Irvin, who is poised to break into stardom during his sophomore year in Ann Arbor. Somewhat less expected was the performance of Max Bielfeldt, who exploded off the bench for 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting despite not seeing any playing time in the season opener. It will be interesting to see if the upperclassman factors into the frontcourt rotation going forward.
North Dakota State at Iowa
More Bison, more problems for Big Ten opponents. The North Dakota State variety reached the NCAA Tournament in 2013-14, but they are supposed to be more tame this season, and it showed. The Bison shot just 27 percent from the floor while being pummeled by a ridiculously balanced effort from the Hawkeyes. Seven players scored at least eight points but less than 15, with the leader being Gabriel Olaseni with 14 points and 11 rebounds in just 17 minutes off the bench. Adam Woodbury also reached double-double status with 10 points and 11 boards in 21 minutes of play. With Roy Devyn Marble being the only significant departure from last year's team, Fran McCaffery will continue to play one of the deepest rotations in the conference.