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Saturday B1G Recap: Illinois Keeps Hopes Alive

Late game heroics turned a match-up between two teams fighting to escape the bottom of the table into the most exciting game of the day.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The B1G is chocked-full of bubble teams this season, which means every game has big ramifications for March. Saturday was no different as 5 were on the docket and every single one had at least one bubble involved.

Game of the Day: Penn State @ Illinois

Malcolm Hill saved the day for the Fighting Illini. With Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby sitting on the bench due to an indefinite suspension, Illinois put the ball in Hill's hands with the game on the line and sophomore answered the call. D.J. Newbill couldn't tie it on the other end and Illinois got the 60-58 win over Penn State. The win was big for the Illini as a loss might have effectively killed their NCAA Tournament hopes.

Hill was easily the player of the game. He had 27 points on 10-15 shooting from the field and added 4 rebounds. Kendrick Nunn had 10 points, but he had a terrible shooting night, 2-14. For PSU, Newbill had 20 points and 5 boards, while Shep Garner added 14 points of his own. The Nittany Lions really lost this game due to their 19 turnovers, up next for them is a trip to Maryland on Wednesday. Illinois will welcome Rutgers on Tuesday.

The Rest

Wisconsin @ Iowa

Iowa was hoping to avenge their blowout loss at Wisconsin last week, but it was not to be as the Hawkeyes struggled mightily on the boards, allowing the Badgers to secure a 35-24 rebounding margin. This one was rarely in doubt as UW rolled to a 74-63 win. Frank Kaminsky continued his Wooden Award campaign with 24 points and 9 rebounds and Sam Dekker had 11 and 8 himself to aid the Badgers. Iowa's Aaron White had a good game despite the shoulder-injury, scoring 15 and collecting 7 boards. Next week, Wisconsin gets Indiana at home on Tuesday and Iowa will try to rebound with a win at Michigan on Thursday.

Rutgers @ Indiana

The Scarlet Knights put up quite the fight in what is considered one of the toughest places to play in the country, but it wasn't enough as the Indiana Hoosiers showed some resiliency. Rutgers led by as many as seven in the second half, but IU just kept fighting and were able to snap a two-game losing streak with a 72-64 win. Myles Mack and Junior Etou led RU with 24 and 13 points respectively. For Indiana, James Blackmon Jr. led with 20 points, while Troy Williams had 14 to go along with 12 rebounds. The Hoosiers will travel to Wisconsin on Tuesday, while Rutgers takes a trip to Illinois.

Nebraska @ Minnesota

The offense was practically non-existent for the Cornhuskers on Saturday. Nebraska turned the ball over 20 times and shot a paltry 37% from the field in a 60-42 blowout loss to Minnesota. The Gophers rolled thanks to a big game from Maurice Walker (18 points & 8 boards) a quality effort from Andre Hollins (12 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists). Terran Petteway had a rather pedestrian day for him with 10 points and 5 assists for the Huskers, while teammate Shavon Shields led the team with 11 points. Nebraska will look to defend their home court against Northwestern on Tuesday. For Minnesota, they get a week off before welcoming Purdue into The Barn next Saturday.

Purdue @ Northwestern

Road victories are going to be essential if Purdue hopes to fight their way onto the bubble, and they secured a good one Saturday. Northwestern took a 29-28 into halftime, but the Boilers exploded for a 21-4 run to start the second half and NU was never able to fully recover, losing 68-60. A.J. Hammons had an impressive 16 point and 9 rebound effort for Purdue, while fellow junior Rapheal Davis went for 15 and 7 with 4 assists. Wildcats, Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps both had 18 points in the loss. Northwestern visits Nebraska on Tuesday, and for the Boilers they will get another chance to boost their resume with a home game against Ohio State on Wednesday.