The Big Ten had a total of 11 games on Monday night. Though most of the games featured Big Ten teams playing massive underdogs, there were some big matchups for teams like Penn State and Wisconsin and there was a massive upset involving Purdue. Here's what happened.
Game of the Night: Wisconsin 68 - California 56
The Wisconsin Badgers went on the road to beat the upset-minded California Bears by a 12 point margin. The Bears and the Badgers alike came into the game with only one loss apiece, but California (10-2) left with another one on their plate as Wisconsin (11-1) controlled the game from tip to finish. The Badgers relied on good shooting as well as control on the boards to win this game. Wisconsin shot 43% from the field compared to California's 39%, and the Badgers also made 17 of 18 free throws (94%). The Badgers controlled the rebounding margin by 10 (39-29) and secured 8 boards on the offensive glass. Nigel Hayes for Wisconsin and Tyrone Wallace for California both scored a game high 17 points. Nigel Hayes was a beast on the glass for the Badgers with 13 rebounds. Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker both added 14 points for Wisconsin and also pulled down 8 and 6 rebounds respectively. Traevon Jackson finished the game with 4 assists. The Badgers shot only 27% from three point range which is unusual given their season average of 35%.
This game ended up being more of a decisive win than initially anticipated, and as a result, the Badgers showed that they may just have the skillset to be a Final Four team come March. The Badgers now have 22 road wins over the last two seasons, making them the leaders in that category. Obviously the Badgers will look to be at the top of the Big Ten Conference all season long, but there are a few teams on the rise that look like they may give Wisconsin a run for their money. Given that it's almost impossible to win at the Kohl Center, the Badgers will have a huge advantage whenever they play at home, but still look for teams like Maryland, Ohio State, and maybe even Michigan (who knows) to make a run for the conference title.
Indiana 79 - New Orleans 59
The Hoosiers cruised by the Privateers to win their ninth home game on the season and to move to 10-2 on the year. After an impressive win against the #23 Butler Bulldogs, the Hoosiers have inserted themselves into the conversation as a possible tournament team depending on their showing in conference play. Yogi Ferrell led the Hoosiers with 17 points.
Iowa 80 - North Florida 70
The Hawkeyes improve to 9-4 on the season with a 10 point in over the Ospreys. Four Hawkeyes finished in double figures including Aaron White who led all scorers with 23. Iowa will open Big Ten Conference play at Ohio State on December 30th.
Michigan 72 - Coppin St 56
Michigan finally ends a four game losing streak with a win at home against Coppin St. The Wolverines shot 47% from the floor and were led by Ricky Doyle with 16 points.
Michigan St. 82 - Citadel 56
The Spartans recover from an embarrassing home loss to Texas Southern to rout the Bulldogs in East Lansing. Sparty was led by Denzel Valentine with 18 points and 6 rebounds.
Minnesota 86 - Furman 76
Minnesota used a late-game run to hold off a feisty Furman team that wouldn't seem to go away. The Paladins had the game tied with just under 5 minutes to go, but the Gophers finished the game on a 17-7 run to improve to 10-2 on the year. Joey King led the Gophers with 19.
Hawaii 66 Nebraska 58
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors got a huge win over a struggling Nebraska Cornhuskers team in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. The win for Hawaii (9-3) marked their first one in the opening round of the Diamond Head Classic since 2009. The warriors were led by guard Aaron Valdes with 15 points, and as a team, they shot 38% from the field. Despite shooting 44% from the field, Nebraska was only able to connect on 56% of their free throw attempts and turned the ball over a whopping 18 times.
Terran Pettaway scored 14 points for the Cornhuskers (6-4) while Walter Pitchford recorded 10 points and 10 rebounds. Though the game was tied at 13 mid-way through the first half, the Rainbow Warriors went on a 21-10 run to go into the break. Nebraska came out in the second half with a clear purpose, fighting their way back into the game to tie the game at 38 with a three pointer by Walter Pitchford. From there on out, the game would remain relatively even until Hawaii pulled away with about 2 minutes left. Negus Webster-Chan had a huge bucket and the foul to give the Warriors a 4 point lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
The highly anticipated Cornhuskers now have 4 losses on the early season and still must get through the rest of this tournament. If they were to win out, they could still place fifth. Nebraska will need to step back and reevaluate their game plan moving forward in order to be ready for conference play. Fewer turnovers has to be key for Tim Miles' squad if they want to be contenders on the big stage.
Northwestern 63 - UIC 46
After a tough loss at home the previous week to Central Michigan, the Wildcats responded nicely with a win over the Flames out of UIC. Led by Bryant McIntosh with 22 points, the wildcats move to 8-4 on the season.
Ohio St 93 - Miami (OH) 55
One of the nation's most efficient offenses rolls by another easy opponent after shooting 55% from the field. The Buckeyes will still need to prove their worth against more difficult opponents, as they dropped to North Carolina 82-74 in the United Center.
Penn St 69 - Dartmouth 49
Penn St cruises by Dartmouth for their tenth straight victory. Though their strength of schedule may be questionable, it's time the Nittany Lions receive some praise or their 12-1 start. The Lions were led by senior guard DJ Newbill with 17 points. He's averaging 21.8 points per game on the season.
Gardner Webb 89 - Purdue 84
In a thriller in West Lafayette, the Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb outlasted a late Boilermaker surge to pull off a stunning upset on the road. After grabbing an early 21-9 lead, it looked as if the Boilermakers would get an easy win at home, but back came the Bulldogs behind junior forward Jerome Hill. His game-high 31 points helped propel Gardner-Webb back into the game. The two teams were tied at 38 at the break. The Bulldogs came out hot in the second half and jumped out to their largest lead of the game (69-51) with 9:29 remaining. But the Boilermakers stormed back from the 18 point deficit in impressive fashion. A jumper by Basil Smotherman with 9 seconds remaining brought the Boilermakers back within two (86-88), but the Bulldogs were able to make their free throws down the stretch to outlast a 33-17 run by the Boilermakers late in the game. Leading Purdue was Rapheal Davis with 13 points and 12 rebounds. This loss drops Purdue to 8-5 on the season.