Saturday was an important day for the B1G in football, with a lot of marquee matchups. On the hardwood there weren't any rivalry games or title hopes on the line, but their were a couple of overtime games, and they were much more thrilling to watch than the overtime game in ACC football that ended 6-3.
Game of the Night: #21 Nebraska @ Rhode Island
Shavon Shields and Nebraska were able to get it to overtime in their first away game of the season, but it was not meant to be as they lost 66-62 in a game marred by poor shooting on both sides. The Cornhuskers actually shot slightly better than the Rams at 37% to 34%, but struggled on the boards, getting outrebounded 49 to 36. The game was back-and-forth throughout. Shields led the Huskers with 25 points and 9 rebounds while star player Terran Petteway had a bit of an off night with 15 points on 5-18 shooting and 4-4 from the charity stripe.
This loss was no doubt tough to swallow for Nebraska fans, losing a down to the wire game they expected to win in football and basketball, It also sets the Huskers back in their pursuit of a return to the NCAA tourney. The Rams (one of three A-10 teams with that moniker) have been picked to finish in the middle of their conference and are likely to be on the bubble for the NIT, not the NCAA. The major issues tonight were scoring and rebounding, Petteway and Shields scored 40 and should be able to account for 30-40 points every game. However. if no one steps up for Nebraska becomes that third option, then they could easily fall out of contention this year. Walter Pitchford was supposed to that guy after averaging 9.3 ppg last year, but he has 10 points total in three games this season and just 11 rebounds. If he doesn't step up, expect Moses Abraham to get more minutes and starts in his stead as the season moves forward. Abraham is not a great or even a good scorer, but he can rebound the ball effectively and has hit just as many shots from the field at Pitchford this season in half the minutes. Nebraska returns home to takeon in-state foe Omaha on Tuesday.
Northwestern vs. Elon
In the second overtime game of the night, the Wildcats outlasted Elon 68-67 in Welsh-Ryan, thanks to a game-winning shot by Tre Demps, who is making a habit of them. The Wildcats trailed most of the game and needed a rally at the end of regulation and in the overtime to win. Elon shot well from behind the arc and was solid on the offensive glass, but Northwestern was able to go 27-37 from the line to stay in the game. Vic Law was the only Wildcat in double figures with 16 and Alex Olah pulled down an impressive 12 boards, 6 more than anyone else in the game. NU's next game is against Miami (OH) in the Cancun Challenge semifinals.
Indiana vs. Lamar
James Blackmon continued to prove that he is a leader in the race for FOY in the B1G, and may have an argument for POY before it is all said and done. IU's latest young gun scored 21 points in a game that was closer than expected toward the end. The Hoosiers led by 17 at one point in the first half, but Lamar got the lead down to 7 with 3:37 left before IU was able to pull away again and seal it. Yogi Ferrell also continued his good start to the season with 19 points, while transfer Nick Zeisloft had an off night going 0-5, all from behind the arc. Indiana get Eastern Washington on Monday at Assembly Hall.
Minnesota vs. UMBC
The Golden Gophers did what they were supposed to do, winning an easy one 69-51 against the Terriers. Mo Walker had an impressive night, leading Minnesota with 15 and adding 5 blocks and 5 boards. Andre Hollins added 12 points, and Deandre Mathieu had 8 to go along with his 8 assists and 4 steals. Minnesota will get a real test on Wednesday against St. Johns, coached by former Purdue assistant coach and ESPN color commentator Steve Lavin. The game will be in MSG as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off, it is basically a home game for the Red Storm, who play all of their conference home games in the Garden.
Wisconsin vs. Boise State
The Badgers made easy work of a Broncos team who is projected to finish in the top half of the Mountain West this season. Frank Kaminsky dominated the game with 26 points to lead all scorers, including a 4-5 performance from deep. Nigel Hayes and Traevon Jackson had 15 and 11 respectively and Bo Ryan cleared his bench to end a game that was never really in doubt. Wisconsin will now take a trip to the Bahamas to face UAB in the first round of a stacked Battle for Atlantis.