College football is now completely over, the NFL is down to conference championship games, and it is now time for college basketball to start taking center stage.
Game of the Night: Purdue @ Penn State
Penn State took a 34-25 lead into halftime and it looked like the most interesting thing about this game was going to be Flavor Flav, who was apparently there to watch his cousin Shep Garner. Luckily for fans of basketball the Boilermakers were able to come back and make it a close game in the second half, and then things got even more exciting. With under 30 seconds left, Purdue was down one with the ball and a chance to take the lead. Kendall Stephens missed a bad shot, leading to a PSU rebound and two subsequent D.J. Newbill made free throws.
Now up three with less than 13 seconds to go, Pat Chambers elected to foul and send Jon Octeus to the line for Purdue, he missed the first, and then missed the second, but the rebound found its way back to Stephens who promptly dribbled out beyond the arc and tied the game with a clutch three. Newbill lost the ball on a last second shot attempt and the game headed to overtime. In OT Penn State would miss their first four shots while the Boilers countered with eight points on their end and that spelled the end as Purdue would win 84-77.
Newbill led all scorers with 37 points, a career-high, shooting 13-23 from the field and 10-11 from the line. No other Nittany Lion finished in double-figures in scoring, but Ross Travis did have 12 boards to go along with his 7 points. Purdue was led by A.J. Hammons and Stephens, who scored 21 and 22 respectively. Hammons also added 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. The Boilers travel to Illinois on Wednesday, while PSU will head to Michigan State.
Northwestern @ Michigan
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman got the first start of his career on Saturday, due to a Spike Albrecht illness, and he made the most of it at the end of the game. Up one with a minute to go and Northwestern Wildcats desperately looking to make a defensive stop, the freshman hit a three that would ultimately be the decider in a Michigan Wolverines win. The Cats had a shot to tie it at the end, but Bryant McIntosh couldn't hit and UM escaped 56-54. Caris LeVert had another do-everything type of game for Michigan as he finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Meanwhile, Northwestern exploited the Wolverines' weakness inside as Alex Olah scored 22 and grabbed 7 boards, 5 offensive. Next up for NU is a home game against OSU on Thursday, Michigan heads to Rutgers on Tuesday.
Michigan State @ #14 Maryland
A matchup that went to two extra periods earlier this year ended up in a blowout, as the Terps won 75-59. Maryland shot exceptionally well from the line and beyond the arc while Michigan State Spartans struggled mightly. Freshman Melo Trimble had a great game, scoring 24 points while hitting 6-11 from deep. Jake Layman added 23 and 12 boards, while doing most of his damage from the line. It seemed like the only Spartans who didn't struggle were Branden Dawson (14 points and 10 rebounds) and Matt Costello (12 and 7). Maryland takes a trip to Assembly Hall to face Indiana on Thursday, and Michigan State hosts Penn State Wednesday.
Ohio State @ Iowa
The Buckeyes fought admirably, but Iowa controlled this game from the start and earned the sweep against OSU, 76-67. With the home team and fans all clad in yellow (gold?) Iowa dominated from the FT line, shooting 35 attempts and hitting 25. Aaron White led his team with 22 points while Adam Woodbury had one of his best games of the season scoring 13 and adding 10 rebounds. D'Angelo Russell kept Ohio State in the game with his 27 points and 14 rebounds, but didn't get enough help to really have a shot at the end. Iowa gets a chance to legitimize their B1G championship chances when they travel to Wisconsin on Tuesday, Ohio State meanwhile will try to right the ship at Northwestern on Thursday.
Rutgers @ Minnesota
Surprisingly, this game was by far the highest scoring game of the day in the conference. Minnesota led most of the way, but good shooting by both teams and a quick pace led to the highest scoring game of the year for Rutgers and the best in conference play for Minnesota as they won 89-80. The Gophers were led by Andre Hollins, who broke out of a bit of a slump to score 31, while Mo Walker added 16 and 9. The Rutgers' duo of Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack scored 26 and 19, Mack also added 8 assists. Rutgers plays host to Michigan on Tuesday, while Minnesota travels to Nebraska.