Thanksgiving is a holiday that is usually reserved for pigskin watching, but for three Big Ten teams, it was time to hit the hardwood and attempt to gobble up another victory. Iowa, Michigan State, and Michigan all played on neutral sites far away from home. Spending Thanksgiving away from your family is rough, but bringing home a victory over a powerful opponent can be sweeter than pumpkin pie.
Game of the night: Dayton Flyers 82, Iowa Hawkeyes 77
Mmmm... pie. The Hawkeyes and their fans could almost taste it when Mike Gesell hit a three-pointer to give Iowa a 75-71 lead over Dayton with less than three minutes to play in the first round of the AdvoCare Invitational in Walt Disney World. The shot capped a 16-2 run and put all the momentum in Iowa's favor. Momentum can be a fickle thing, though, coming and going as it pleases. The Flyers immediately grabbed the lead back on a three-pointer by Charles Cooke and a Scoochie Smith layup that came off of an Iowa turnover. Facing a one-point deficit with 50 seconds to play, Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff misfired on a triple. Smith responded with another layup to extend the Dayton advantage and Peter Jok missed a three-pointer to end the game.
The Hawkeyes continued to look like a dangerous offensive team with 12-for-24 shooting from beyond the arc, including a 4-for-7 performance from Uthoff, but the Flyers won the physical battle with 10 more free throw attempts and stronger shooting from two-point range. Charles Cookie shot 7-for-12 from the field for 22 points to lead all scorers, while Smith topped everyone with seven assists for Dayton. Uthoff, Jok, and Anthony Clemmons all scored in double figures for the Hawkeyes, who fell to 3-1 for the season and will take on Notre Dame tonight after the Irish were upset by Monmouth in the opening round.
Despite losing a pair of key players over the summer due to graduation, Michigan State continued to look like a national contender with a dominant win over Boston College in the first round of the Wooden Legacy tournament in Fullerton, California. It was the 500th career win for head coach Tom Izzo and one that saw the Spartans perform very impressively on offense. Denzel Valentine knocked down six three-pointers and scored a career-high-matching 29 points while adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double of the young season. Tum Tum Nairn had 13 points and eight dimes of his own for a Michigan State effort that went 63 percent from the field and assisted on 28 of 37 made baskets.
Former Rutgers and Florida guard Eli Carter had 22 points to pace the Eagles. The Spartans will look to extend their perfect start when they face Boise State in the second round tonight.
Michigan Wolverines 102, Charlotte 49ers 47
Not to be outdone by their Spartan counterparts, the Wolverines cruised to a win over Charlotte in the loser's bracket of the Battle 4 Atlantis. After being bounced by UConn in the first round of the tournament, Michigan responded by shooting 62 percent from the floor and 52 percent from beyond the arc. The team also locked down Charlotte on defense, not allowing the 49ers a single scorer in double figures. Freshman Moritz Wagner came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points that led all scorers, and Caris LeVert added 13 for the Wolverines, who advance to face Texas tonight for their final game in the Bahamas.