The second-to-last Saturday of the NCAA regular season was a busy one, and here in the greatest conference of them all it was quite an interesting day. And no place was more interesting Saturday than Happy Valley.
Game of the Day: Iowa @ Penn State
The Penn State Nittany Lions have been involved in some of the most entertaining games of the year, and Saturday was no different. The back-and-forth game started out with Penn State jumping out to a 23-11 lead in the first eight minutes, and yet by halftime Iowa was up 31-29. After a second half full of lead changes, D.J. Newbill got to line with just seconds left and tied it at 68. In the overtime, Iowa got out to a quick start with back-to-back threes before PSU fought back to even the score. In the end it was an Aaron White steal with 30 seconds to go and six consecutive made free throws from their star that really sealed it for Iowa as they won 81-77.
White finished the game with 21 points and 14 rebounds, both game-highs. Teammate Mike Gesell added 14 points and an impressive 5 steals and 7 assists. Newbill led the way for Penn State with 19 points, 5 boards and 5 assists, while Shep Garner added 17. Iowa will get a chance to boost their resume with a win at Indiana on Tuesday, then on Wednesday Penn State gets one more chance to win at home on senior night against Ohio State.
Michigan @ Maryland
The Wolverines put in a valiant effort in hostile territory, but it wasn't enough to knock off the the 14th ranked team in the country. Maryland has now gone the entirety of their first year in the B1G without a home loss. The Wolverines kept it close throughout the beginning of the game, but a 12-0 run by the Terps to end the half was the turning point. Michigan made a few pushes in the second half, but in the end they fell 66-56. Melo Trimble had a good game with 19 points and 5 assists. For Michigan, Spike Albrecht and Zak Irvin both had 15 points each. Next week sees Maryland travel to Rutgers on Tuesday, while Michigan takes a trip to Northwestern.
Northwestern @ Illinois
The story of this game ended up being less about the performance on the court and more about the rivalry between Northwestern and Illinois. The Illini controlled the game from the start, and their lead was never really threatened by the previously hot Wildcats. With the game basically over early, the rivalry got chippy, leading to a flagrant foul on Sanjay Lumpkin, and a later a double technical on Leron Black and Scottie Lindsey, along with multiple smaller dust ups. Despite the loss, Alex Olah continued his run of good play with 18 points and 5 boards. Illinois had 5 player finish in double-figures, including Rayvonte Rice with 19 and Ahmad Starks with 17. The Illini host Nebraska on Wednesday, and Northwestern welcomes in Michigan on Tuesday.