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Big Ten Saturday Recap: Illini Battle Iowa State Cyclones but Come Up Just Short

Illinois' battle with Iowa State in the Emerald Coast Classic highlighted a day full of 6 different Big Ten games. Illinois was the only team to lose as the rest of the conference cruised to solid victories.

John Groce at the Prairie Capital Convention Center
John Groce at the Prairie Capital Convention Center
Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten goes 5-1 on the day as Illinois was the only team to lose Saturday. Here's a look at all of the day's action around the leauge.

Game of the Day

Iowa State 84, Illinois 73

The Fighting Illini, revitalized with reattaining guards Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn from injury, gave Iowa State a run for its money in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic. Illinois got off to a hot start, fueled by Malcolm Hill's red hot shooting, and despite a first half run by the Cyclones, Illinois was able to hang around and only trail by one going into the break.

The beginning of the second half was very back and forth between the two teams. The Fighting Illini knocked down some jumpers from behind the arc and eventually took a two point lead. With Illinois' Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn heating up, the Cyclones went on lock down mode and the Illini were unable to get the right players the right shots. Iowa State ran away with the game in the final 10 minutes to deal Illinois its fourth loss on the season. Juniors Hill and Nunn led the way for Illinois with 20 and 19. The big story for the Illini was Mike Thorne Jr. who left the game in the first half with an unspecified leg injury.

The Rest

Nebraska 82, Tennessee 71

Nebraska got a solid win Saturday after beating Rick Barnes' Volunteers by double digits in the Barclays Center Classic. The Cornhuskers got contributions from a wide range of players, as 5 guys scored in double digits on Saturday. Tai Webster led Nebraska in scoring with 18, and sophomore Jake Hammond had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Cornhuskers get a good bounce back victory after barely losing to Cincinnati yesterday in the Barclays Center Classic.

Bucknell 58, Penn State 62

Penn State rallied to defeat Bucknell on Saturday after trailing by 8 with a little under 6 minutes to play in the game. Payton Banks was the hero for the Nittany Lions who put Penn State up for good in the final minute. Brandon Taylor was still the star of the show though, as he tallied an impressive 19 points and 11 rebounds. Despite narrowly escaping the Bison, Penn State's defense was solid, allowing Bucknell to go only 29.8% from the field.

Lehigh 55, Purdue 77

Isaac Haas had a career-high 24 points in a game that Purdue dominated. The Boilermakers move to 6-0 on the young season and continue to impress in the Big Ten. Purdue was very efficient from the line as it was able to connect on 21 of 25 of its free throw attempts on Saturday. They will get a tough test this next week as they travel to Pittsburgh as part of the Big Ten vs. ACC Challenge.

New Orleans 63, Northwestern 90

The Wildcats shot a commanding 55.2% from the field as they were able to cruise past New Orleans in Evanston. They were led by Scottie Lindsey who scored 26 points off the bench for the Wildcats. Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh added 16 and 13 respectively, and Northwestern picked up its fifth win of the season.

Cleveland State 63, Maryland 80

Despite allowing yet another inferior opponent to stick around in the first half, Maryland was able to cruise away and move to 6-0 on the season. Robert Carter and Jared Nickens were the leading scorers for the Terrapins with 17 and 16 respectively. Carter was also pivotal on the glass, pulling down 8 boards for the Terps. Maryland will get its toughest test of the season by far this week when they travel to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina in the Big Ten vs. ACC Challenge.