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61 Days to B1G Basketball: When Penn State and Illinois Scored 71 Points

Today we continue our daily countdown towards the tipoff of the Big Ten basketball season.

Joe Robbins

Occasionally offense likes to drop off a cliff in the Big Ten. Games in the 40s or 50s aren't entirely out of the picture and defense usually is more prevalent than offense. Occasionally things get a little bit out of hand though, like when Penn State and Illinois faced each other back in 2009. That was a glorious night as both teams combined for...71 points?

With Penn State's Talor Battle the only person to hit double digits (11 points), Penn State edged a ranked Illinois by five points in one of the ugliest regular season games the Big Ten has ever seen. Even more surprising then the two teams combining to shoot 28.3% and 30%? Illinois shot zero free throws on the night. While the game was an offensive disaster, at least people weren't subject to a long night as the two teams combined for  a mere 21 fouls in a relatively short game.

Even better? The game was streaky, with Illinois rattling off a 13-4 run over 11 minutes to take a 19-17 lead three minutes into the second half. Not to be outdone, the Nittany Lions ended the night on a 14-2 run for the win. In a game where their head coach, Ed DeChellis, said they probably sent the game of basketball back to the days of James Naismith. Ouch.

As ugly as the game ended up being, I'm going to let you into a little secret of mine. For some reason I absolutely love watching these kinds of games. As someone who's always been a better defender when it comes to basketball, few things beat a hard fought defensive struggle. And while another infamous Big Ten game is likely to show up later in the countdown, I felt like this game goes relatively unnoticed when Big Ten fans talk about the ugliest games of all time.

Also, there are literally highlights of the game. I use the term loosely, though. Watch at your own risk: