It was an action packed Saturday for the Big Ten as all but one of the conference's teams took the floor. Here's a look at the games that went down.
Game of the Night: New Mexico 58, Purdue Boilermakers 70
Despite being given quite a fight for the majority of the game, the Purdue Boilermakers cruised to yet another double digit victory. Through 8 games, the Boilermakers have yet to win by fewer than 10 points, and one of those games included a tough road matchup against a very good Pittsburgh team. They continue to show why they deserve to be a top ten team, and this win over New Mexico helps their cause.
Purdue got off to a good start as it was able to lead by as many as 11 in the first half. New Mexico fought that lead down to 6 going into the break thanks in part to a personal 6-0 run by Cullen Neal. The Lobos refused to go away in the second half as they tied and eventually took the lead just a few minutes in. A three pointer by Elijah Brown gave New Mexico its largest lead of the game at 4, but Purdue would rally and shutdown the Lobos late in the game. In a contest that was much closer than the score indicated, Purdue was able to take yet another double digit victory.
The Lobos were led by Elijah Brown with 21 points and 3 of 5 shooting from behind the arc. The coach's son Cullen Neal also had a very good showing as he recorded 16 of his own points. New Mexico lost just its second game of the season and still looks to be a great team this year. They will have a chance to get a solid victory when Northern Iowa comes to town next weekend. The Lobos look to have a team that could surely contend for the Mountain West title.
Purdue had yet another stellar night from star center A.J. Hammons. His double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds helped give Purdue the advantage in this high-level basketball game. Fellow big man Isaac Haas was another reason that the Boilermakers managed to stay undefeated on Saturday. Haas came in and scored a team-high 21 points and pulled down 6 boards.
Purdue is so dangerous because of the sheer amount of talent it has throughout its roster. Freshman Caleb Swanigan had a tough game as he went just 1 of 6 from the floor, but his teammates were there to pick up the slack. That's one of the biggest reasons that Purdue will be a major contender in the Big Ten this season. Purdue gets a couple of easy games at home before closing its non-conference schedule with games against Butler and Vanderbilt.
- Illinois Fighting Illini 80, Western Carolina 68
Kendrick Nunn and Michael Finke were the stars of the show as the Fighting Illini got a much needed win at their newly renovated home court. The two scored 27 and 24 respectively including a combined 7 of 11 from three point range. Kendrick Nunn has been rock solid since returning from his injury, but Michael Finke has shown flashes of extraordinary play on and off. This career high 24 points was monstrous for the freshman as he'll begin to become an integral piece of the Fighting Illini offense. Western Carolina, who stuck with the Illini for the majority of the game, was led by senior Mike Brown with 23 points. Illinois inches its way closer to .500 as it now stands at 4-5.
- Indiana Hoosiers 92, Morehead State 59
Many expected this game to be a bit tricky for the Hoosiers, but this ended up being pretty one sided. Ultimately, Indiana jumped out early and never looked back. The key player for Indiana was Yogi Ferrell who finished with 15 points, seven assists, and two rebounds in the game. Additionally, Max Bielfeldt, James Blackmon, Thomas Bryant, and Troy Williams all scored in double-digits. Needless to say, this one was never really close. Indiana will move on and get IPFW at home on Wednesday.
- Iowa Hawkeyes 95, UMKC 75
Iowa's offense was on fire when it played host to UMKC and walked away with a 20 point victory. The Hawkeyes knocked down 12 three pointers and had 5 players in double figures. Dom Uhl had a very good game for Iowa, recording a double-double with 10 rebounds and a team-high 14 points. Iowa faces a surprisingly tough Western Illinois team at home next week before battling it out with its inner-state rival Iowa State in Ames.
- Michigan Wolverines 82, Houston Baptist 57
Michigan rolled over Houston Baptist on Saturday en route to its fourth straight victory. The Wolverines were led by their star Caris LeVert who had 25 points and 8 rebounds on the night, but there has been an emerging star that's been giving them quality contributions: Duncan Robinson. The junior transfer from Williams College scored 19 including 5 makes from long range. He had 17 in Michigan's win over North Carolina State. Having a great couple shooting games as of late, he could be a weapon that the Wolverines rely on moving forward.
- Michigan State Spartans 76, Binghamton 33
Defense was the name of the game in which Sparty absolutely man-handled visiting Binghamton on Saturday. The Bearcats shot just 16.7% from the floor and connected on only 11.8% of their tries from long range. The Spartans on the other hand were led by double-double machine Deznel Valentine who tallied 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists despite shooting just 1 of 5 from three point range. Bryn Forbes and Eron Harris also made it into double figures with 14 and 11 points respectively. Michigan State will likely be the number one team in the nation next week as it picks up its 9th win of the season.
- Minnesota Golden Gophers 81, South Dakota 85
Minnesota dropped an easy game that it could not afford to lose on Saturday. The Gophers had the nation's second longest non-conference home game winning streak behind only Duke coming into this contest. That streak has been snapped by the Coyotes of South Dakota. All of five of South Dakota's starters got into double figures and were able to squeak out a four point win over the Golden Gophers in double overtime. Minnesota struggled from three point range as it knocked down just 26.1% of its attempts. It was a tough loss for Minnesota who now has three losses.
- Nebraska Cornhuskers 73, Abilene Christian 63
Though Abilene Christian was able to keep this one close in the first half, the Cornhuskers ultimately ran away with the game thanks in part to Andrew White's career-high 30 points. Almost half of White's points came at the free throw line as he was able to knock down 14 of his 16 attempts. The Huskers took advantage of 23 team fouls by Abilene Christian and converted that into 27 of 36 from the free throw line. Abilene Christian, despite shooting 46.8% from the floor, turned the ball over 20 times and allowed Nebraska to pull down 7 extra offensive boards. The Huskers play their inner-state rival Creighton on Wednesday.
- Northwestern Wildcats 81, SIU Edwardsville 56
The Wildcats have continued to impress this season as they get yet another win. Now standing at 7-1, Northwestern has a good shot at cruising into the conference slate of their schedule with just one loss. Alex Olah was the star of the show as he scored 21 points and puled down 8 rebounds. Bryant McIntosh had a nice showing with 11 points and 8 assists. Freshman Aaron Falzon scored 17. Credit the Wildcats' defense in this dominating win. Even though the Salukis only turned the ball over 7 times, they only put up 56 points.
- Ohio State Buckeyes 89, Virginia Military 62
Ohio State got a much needed victory at home after dropping four straight games prior. The Buckeyes were having loads of trouble keeping other teams contained, but in Saturday's blowout win, they played much better on defense. Ohio State forced 14 turnovers, pulled in 51 rebounds, and knocked down 47.8% of its shots. The Buckeyes had four players in double figures and two players with double-doubles. Trevor Thompson and Marc Loving both pulled down 10 rebounds in addition to 13 and 17 points respectively. Jae'Sean Tate led the way for Ohio State with 19 points and 5 boards of his own.
- Penn State Nittany Lions 81, Eastern Michigan 70
Brandon Taylor's 27 points helped lead the Nittany Lions past a feisty Eastern Michigan team by 11 points. Taylor recorded a double-double as he also managed to pull down 12 boards in the contest. Shep Garner was also a huge component in Penn State's win as he had a nice balance of 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Also scoring in double figures was Payton Banks with 17. Eastern Michigan, despite shooting a better percentage from the floor, allowed Penn State to pull down 49 boards, including 19 on the offensive end. Penn State has a tough opponent in George Washington coming up this Tuesday.
- Seton Hall 84, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 55
The Pirates came into Piscataway in a game that was expected to be a close one between two long-time rivals. Instead, Seton Hall blew Rutgers out of the water as it cruised to a huge 29 point victory. Despite hanging with the Pirates in the first ten minutes, the Scarlet Knights allowed their opponent to run away with the game from there on out. The most eye-opening stat in this one is the rebound margin. Seton Hall pulled down an incredible 56 boards including 21 on the offensive end. Rutgers only managed 35 and suffered heavily in that category. Seton Hall moves to 6-2 on the season while Rutgers loses its fourth straight game to fall to 3-5.
- Wisconsin Badgers 76, Temple 60
The Badgers led throughout as they were able to easily handle Fran Dunphy's visiting Owls. Nigel Hayes asserted himself in the lane and in the paint as he went for 18 points and 12 rebounds. It was the upperclassmen for Wisconsin that got the job done, as Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, and Zak Showalter combined for 46 of the Badgers' 76 points. Freshmen Charlie Thomas and Ethan Happ both has 9 for Wisconsin. The Badgers got hot from long range on their own floor as they connected on 54.5% of their attempts. Wisconsin's win caps off a very good week that also included a true road victory over 14th ranked Syracuse.