The Minnesota are doing their best to play their way into the NCAA Tournament, and they took a big step towards that goal tonight with a win at Iowa. Elsewhere, Purdue cruised against Rutgers, in New Jersey, and Michigan gave away a win at Illinois.
Game of the Night: Minnesota @ Iowa
The Iowa Hawkeyes came into the night firmly in the discussion as the second-best team in the league. Unfortunately, that seems to mean you're due for a loss this season, and a hungry Minnesota team was all too happy to play spoiler. It was a tight game throughout, but with two minutes left the Gophers were able to stretch the lead to ten for the first time in the game. Iowa wasn't done though, they fought back and were able to cut the lead to two after Minnesota committed a cardinal sin and fouled Jared Utoff behind the arc. After he hit all three free throws, Nate Mason gave the Hawkeyes a chance by going 1-2 from the line, but Maurice Walker was able to grab a steal and finish the game at line, 64--59.
Andre Hollins was the leading scorer in the game with 20 points, while Mason added 12 for the Gophers. For Iowa, Utoff had 17 points and 7 rebounds. The Hawkeyes' Peter Jok and Aaron White scored 16 and 13 points respectively. Next up for Minnesota is another tough road test against Indiana on Sunday, while Iowa will head to Evanston to take on Northwestern,
Purdue @ Rutgers
Purdue scored a B1G road victory, but it hardly felt like they "earned" it. Rutgers played extremely poorly for most of the game before a late 13-1 run allowed them to get within eight points of the Boilers before ultimately falling 61-51. A.J. Hammons continued his run of great play by leading all scorers with 17 points and adding 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. Rapheal Davis also had a solid game with 13 points, while Kadeem Jack paced the Scarlet Knights with 16 points and 8 boards. Purdue returns to Mackey on Sunday to take on Nebraska, Rutgers on the other hand will wait a week before traveling to Iowa to play the Hawkeyes.
Michigan @ Illinois
Normally an overtime game would be a shoo-in for "Game of the Night" honors, but normally an overtime game doesn't end in a double-digit loss. Michigan held a seven-point lead with three minutes left in regulation, 50-43, but their next points wouldn't come until the end of OT as they lost 64-52. Kendrick Nunn was huge for Illinois, as he scored 21 points, including the game-tying three to send the game to an extra session. Ahmad Starks had 12 off the bench, and Nnanna Egwu scored all six of his points in OT to go along with 12 boards. The Wolverines were led by Spike Albrecht with 13 and Max Bielfeldt with 12 and 7 rebounds. Illinois gets a huge test on Sunday as they head to Wisconsin to face the Badgers. Michigan will get the weekend off before their meeting with rival Michigan State on Tuesday in Ann Arbor.