Friday was Quarterfinal day in the Big Ten Tournament, with the top 4 teams all playing after their double-bye to begin the tournament. All 4 teams had the benefit of extra rest, and all 4 teams won their games. It was all chalk in Chicago for the first ever Big Ten Quarterfinal featuring the newcomer, the Maryland Terrapins.
Game of the Day
#2 Maryland Terrapins 75 - #7 Indiana Hoosiers 69
Indiana came into today's match as the last team into the tournament according to ESPN's bracketology. Most experts agreed that with a win, the Hoosiers would be a lock for the tournament. The score was incredibly close for the entirety of the game, but Maryland held the edge after going up 14-13 early in the first half. The teams would continue to trade baskets, with Indiana tying the game on several occasions. Maryland was never able to take control of the game as they never stretched their lead to more than 6 from the 10 minute mark in the first half to the very end of the game. They say basketball is a game of runs, but neither team went on a run of more than 2 baskets with the only exception being a 9-0 Maryland run early in the game. Every time Indiana got close, Maryland answered, and that ended up being the story of the game. Indiana was within 2 points with 39 seconds left, but Maryland was able to ice the game from the free throw line, building a 9 point lead - the largest of the game - with only 12 seconds left. Indiana hit a late three, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Terrapins.
Dez Wells had a game high 22 points for Maryland, and Melo Trimble added 17. Jake Layman had 10 points and was 1 rebound away from a double-double. Jared Nickens also had 10 points for the Terrapins.
Indiana was led by Yogi Ferrell who had 18 points. Troy Williams had 17 points and 9 rebounds and Robert Johnson had 10 points.
Indiana now will have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday, while Maryland will play in the semifinals at approximately 3:30 EST / 2:30 CT against Michigan State on CBS.
#3 Michigan State Spartans 76 - #6 Ohio State Buckeyes 67
Both the Spartans and Buckeyes are firmly in the NCAA Tournament, but both teams had a chance to improve their seeding on Friday. Michigan State jumped out to an early lead, going up 29-13 with 6 minutes left in the first half. Ohio State then went on a 10-2 run that was capped off by a pair of D'Angelo Russell three pointers. Both teams would then trade punches and the Spartans came out with a 36-28 lead at the half. Each team then made their first three shots of the 2nd half before Ohio State went on a 5 minute scoring drought. But Michigan state went on a drought of their own, scoring only one basket in a 6 minute span. The Spartans then opened up a 17 point lead with 6:30 left in the game, but Ohio State wouldn't quit. They went on a 13-1 run that made it a 5 point game with 3 minutes left. Michigan State answered though, and managed to keep the Buckeyes at arms length for the remainder of the game.
D'Angelo Russell had a team high 19 points for Ohio State. Shannon Scott was 1 assist away from a double-double with 13 points and 9 assists. Sam Thompson also added 13 points for the Buckeyes
Michigan State put on a passing clinic in the game, getting assists on 23 of their 29 made field goals while only committing 8 turnovers. Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine were both close to triple-doubles, each had 7 assists and 8 rebounds for the Spartans while scoring 14 and 23 points respectively. Travis Trice also added 18 points for the team from East Lansing.
#1 Wisconsin Badgers 71 - #9 Michigan Wolverines 60
The first game of Quarterfinal action pitted Wisconsin against the the Wolverines from Michigan. Michigan was trying to pull off an improbable upset while Wisconsin needed a win to continue to make their case for a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan came out firing, opening up a 9 point lead over Wisconsin 12 minutes into the first half on the backs of the hot shooting Spike Albrecht and Zak Irvin. But Michigan all of a sudden went cold, scoring only 4 points in the last 8 minutes of the half. Wisconsin scored 18 points during Michigan's cold streak, making several easy layups and dunks in the process. Wisconsin took a 5 point lead into halftime with a score of 31-26. Both teams traded baskets for most of the second half, with Michigan taking the lead on a couple occasions. It was a tie game with 5 minutes left at 54-54, but for the second time in the game, Michigan went cold at the end of the half. they only made 2 baskets in the final 4 minutes, and Wisconsin pulled away for a comfortable 11 point victory.
Michigan had a fantastic shooting day, going 52% from the field and 40% from three, but they were dominated on the boards by the much larger Wisconsin team. They were also unable to draw fouls and get to the free throw line - they only drew 5 fouls and shot 2 free throws for the entire game. They lost the rebound battle 34-19, and 11 of those 19 rebounds came from Zak Irvin, who notched third double double of the season. His 21 points were a game high, and Ricky Doyle added 12 points on 6 for 6 shooting.
Wisconsin won this game by playing stellar defense without fouling, and by controlling the battle on the glass. Frank Kaminsky had his 11th double-double of the season, with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Nigel Hayes was 1 rebound away from his own double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Sam Dekker had 17 points 6 rebounds and 6 assists and Bronson Koenig added 12 points for the Badgers. They will face #4 Purdue at 1:00 EST / Noon CT on CBS.
#4 Purdue Boilermakers 64 - #13 Penn State Nittany Lions 59
Penn State came into this game trying to continue their run in the Big Ten Tournament after their upset victory over Iowa. Purdue had to avoid a bad loss that would push them closer to the bubble and probably force them into the NCAA play-in game in Dayton. D.J. Newbill caught fire early in the game, hitting his first three shots including 2 three pointers in a 2 minute span. Newbill then went cold for the rest of the half, but the rest of the Nittany Lions caught fire as Penn State opened up an 11 point lead late in the first half. But with Penn State up 8 with 30 seconds left in the half they got an offensive rebound and had the chance to pull it out and take the last shot of the half. Instead, Newbill opted for the quick shot, which he missed, and Purdue came back and hit a three to close the half and put them only down 5 at 37-32. Penn State then went on a 5 minute scoring drought early in the 2nd half that allowed Purdue to take the lead at 42-41. Penn State was able to answer, going up 50-44 after a Brandon Taylor three. Vince Edwards responded for Purdue with a three of his own to make it 50-47 with 8:47 left in the game. Penn State then went ice cold with a scoring drought that lasted until the final minute of the game. Purdue went up by 7 in the final minute and closed the game out from the free throw line and Penn State's run ended abruptly.
Penn State had only 3 turnovers in the game, but their cold shooting kept them from winning the game. D.J. Newbill led the Lions with 19 points, but it took him 18 shots to do it. He was 4 of 6 from three, but only 2 of 12 from inside the arc. Ross Travis had another stellar game for Penn State with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
For Purdue, A.J. Hammons was the man of the game. He had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 timely blocks. Rapheal Davis had 13 points for the Boilermakers and Jon Octeus had 9 points and 11 rebounds, which were a career high. Purdue will look to upset the Wisconsin Badgers tomorrow afternoon.