Heading into Big Ten play on Wednesday night, both Iowa and Northwestern had to be feeling pretty good about themselves. While the Hawkeyes had just defeated Rutgers and Nebraska by a total of 62 points, Northwestern had rebounded from a 10-game losing streak with three consecutive victories. The Wildcats couldn't possibly pull off a fourth straight win with the Hoosiers in town, could they?
Game of the night: Illinois at Iowa
Iowa defeated Illinois 68-60 thanks to a marvelous performance from Aaron White. The senior big man could not be stopped, as he scored 29 points on 8-for-13 shooting with nine rebounds and only one turnover. No other Hawkeye scored in double figures, but the most important bucket of the night may have been Mike Gesell's driving, one-handed dunk that put Iowa up by 12 with under five minutes to play.
Fran McCaffery's crew had trouble putting away the Illini because of the seemingly unlimited range of Ahmad Starks. He's averaging under eight points per game this season, but on Wednesday night the senior went 5-for-9 from beyond the arc and scored a season-high 19 points. Rayvonte Rice had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead Illinois, but the rest of the team struggled mightily from the field. Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn combined to shoot 4-for-21 and scored just nine points.
Indiana at Northwestern
Believe it or not, Northwestern has now won four straight games after its 72-65 upset victory over Indiana on Wednesday night. The game was tied 40-40 at half thanks to strong performances from Nick Zeisloft, Alex Olah, and Vic Law, but scoring slowed down in the second period. Mostly for the Hoosiers, who missed 10 consecutive field goals during a 13-0 Northwestern run that allowed the home team to take a commanding 14-point lead with just four minutes to play.
Junior guard Tre Demps was instrumental during the burst and totaled 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting for the night. The Wildcats also got nice performances from Olah (17 points, 11 rebounds), and Law (14 points), who has picked up his game lately and is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week. The Hoosiers were led by 21 points and 14 rebounds from Troy Williams, while Zeisloft pitched in 12 points on four three-pointers but didn't score after the break.