It was a great day in Big Ten hoops as we had some thrilling matchups that went right down to the wire. 11 Big Ten teams played today, so here's a look at all the action on the floor.
Game of The Night: Michigan State 58, Florida 52
Michigan State fought off a pesky Florida team to stay undefeated on Saturday. The matchup in East Lansing was a game of defense, as neither team managed to shoot the ball better than 40% from the field. Though the Gators refused to go away for much of the game, Michigan State executed on both ends of the floor in the final five minutes to walk away with the victory.
The Spartans shot just 19% from behind the three point line as they struggled to find the bottom of the basket all night long. Denzel Valentine, despite hitting 3 of the Spartans' 5 three pointers, missed 8 of his attempts from long range. Forbes struggled as well as he shot just 1 of 7 from deep. Despite the shooting woes from Michigan State's veterans, Valentine and Forbes managed to win the game for the Spartans. Clinging on to just a one point lead, Michigan State looked to Forbes for a three pointer, and though he had been ice cold all night, he knocked it down. It was with just over 6 minutes to go that Michigan State extended its lead to 4 and went on to win.
The Florida Gators were very impressive in coming into East Lansing and taking the top ranked Spartans down to the wire. Leading the way for them was both Kasey Hill and Dorian Finney-Smith with 13 apiece. Devin Robinson also had a big game for the Gators, as he scored 10 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Florida now has three losses on the year, though all three have come to ranked opponents. Look for Florida to contest with Kentucky and Vanderbilt for a chance at the SEC title; the Gators could be dangerous.
Michigan State ends a four game home stand as it will now go on the road for its next four. The Spartans will go to Boston to face Northeastern and then will play Oakland at a neutral site to end the non-conference slate of the season. Michigan State will open up Big Ten play with a game at Iowa and then a game at Minnesota. Florida faces Jacksonville and Florida State before starting SEC conference play.
Illinois 83, UIC 79
At the United Center in Chicago, Illinois had just enough in the tank to hold off a feisty Flames team in the second half. After letting the Flames overcome a double digit deficit in the second half, the Illini relied on Malcolm Hill's clutch free throw shooting to finish the game down the stretch. Hill had 22 for the Fighting Illini who avoided a loss that they simply could not have. UIC's Dominique Matthews had 18 points in the first half, but he didn't managed to score at all in the second due to foul trouble.
Indiana 105, McNeese State 60
Indiana destroyed yet another inferior opponent on Saturday as the Hoosiers rolled past McNeese State. The Hoosiers shot 51% from the field and knocked down 48% of their attempts from long range. James Blackmon Jr. had 24 points, and he hit 5 of his 9 three point attempts. Thomas Bryant was also big for the Hoosiers as he had 18 points and 9 rebounds. Indiana has easily handled its easier opponents this season, but it has struggled immensely against tougher ones. The Hoosiers will have a chance to turn that around when they play Notre Dame next weekend.
Maryland 77, UMES 56
Maryland won an easy game at home after a good win over UCONN earlier in the week. Though Maryland-Eastern Shore did manage to hang around a little bit in the first half, the Terrapins ultimately put them down and won the game very easily. Maryland was 51% from the field including 48% from behind the three point line. Melo Trimble led the way with 18 points while Rasheed Sulaimon had 10 assists.
Michigan 80, Delaware State 33
The Wolverines were on fire as they cruised to an easy home victory against Delaware State. Balance scoring and defense were the keys to this victory, as Michigan had 6 players score in double digits and only allowed Delaware State to score 33 points, including just 15 in the second half. Caris LeVert led Michigan in scoring with 15 points on 5 of 9 shooting. Delaware State was limited to just 24% shooting from the field and turned the ball over 17 times.
Minnesota 60, Oklahoma State 62
Minnesota fought tooth and nail with a solid Oklahoma State team but fell just short in South Dakota on Saturday night.. The Gophers did not shoot well from the floor against the Cowboys; they managed a meager 18% from three point range and couldn't get much going on the offensive end. Joey King struggled with just 6 points and only 1 made three point field goal on 5 attempts. Nate Mason led the way in scoring for the Gophers with 14, but he missed all 4 of three point attempts. Minnesota has now lost three straight and is really looking rough around the edges. Richard Pitino's team will need to make some major strides before the start of conference play.
Ohio State 55, Connecticut 75
What may have looked like a good matchup at the beginning of the season was very one-sided in reality. The Huskies stole the first half from the Buckeyes and never looked back in this one. The Buckeyes were lackluster on defense as they allowed UCONN to shoot an incredible 60% from the floor. Omar Calhoun led the Huskies in scoring with 14. Jae'Sean Tate of Ohio State led the all scores with 15. Ohio State suffers yet another loss as it moves to 4-5 on the season.
Penn State 54, Louisiana-Monroe 50
The Nittany Lions were able to sneak away from Louisiana-Monroe in a very tight, low scoring game. Penn State used a 23-13 run to close out the game, thanks mostly in part to Brandon Taylor. The senior, despite going just 4 of 14 from the field, was able to score 16 points and help his team avoid a major upset at home. Louisiana-Monroe was led by Travis Munnings who notched 22 points on the night.
Purdue 95, Youngstown State 64
It didn't take much for Purdue to stay undefeated on Saturday as it once again dominated an inferior opponent. The Boilermakers shot 55% from the field and 48% from three point range in its 31 point victory. Purdue outrebounded its opponent 41-23 and had an incredible 26 assists on 33 made baskets. A.J. Hammons notched a double-double as he led the Boilermakers with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Rutgers 49, George Washington 83
The Colonials, led by Tyler Cavanaugh with 22 points, absolutely embarrassed the Scarlet Knights on Saturday. George Washington forced Rutgers to turn the ball over an abysmal 22 times and subsequently was able to have 17 more shot attempts than their opponent. Rutgers struggled to score all night as it shot just 34% from the field. The Scarlet Knights were led by Bishop Daniels with 12 points and 5 rebounds.
Wisconsin 55, Marquette 57
Wisconsin loses yet another home game on Saturday after a brutal loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee earlier in the week. The Badgers trailed for most part of the game before notching a final comeback at the end. Despite trailing by double digits in the second half, Wisconsin got the deficit down to two but was unable to edge inner state rival Marquette. Wisconsin had four players in double digits, including leading scorer Vitto Brown who notched 15 and pulled down 8 rebounds. Despite this, Marquette and Henry Ellenson had enough in the tank to grab the road victory. The freshman for the Golden Eagles had a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards.