Iowa-Maryland was the night's marquee matchup. Michigan State was also in action on the road for an interesting test. Not to be forgotten, Ohio State and Illinois clashed, both teams looking for momentum, and in Ohio State's case perhaps it could advance its tournament resume. Let's take a look at all three games.
Game of the Night: Maryland Terrapins 74, Iowa Hawkeyes 68
Maryland led Iowa 41-35 at halftime. The Hawkeyes played zone; Maryland successfully attacked the zone with the dribble, and as a result, opened up the perimeter. (The Terrapins hit six threes in the first half.)
Maryland also played well defensively, particularly against Jarrod Uthoff. Robert Carter and Jake Layman both switched on to Uthoff at various points and really bothered his jumpers. Uthoff had three first half points, but all at the foul line. (He missed all five of his shots in the first 20 minutes.)
The second half started a bit lethargically for the Maryland. Iowa's defensive strategy really neutralized Maryland's pick-and-roll game, and Melo Trimble wasn't quite as dynamic. None of the first half momentum really carried forward, even the crowd was a bit flattened after providing huge energy.
Then, late in the game, both Adam Woodbury (for Iowa) and Robert Carter (for Maryland) fouled out, and the officiating became a focus of both coaches and the crowd. Carter finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Woodbury had his third straight double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams limped to the finish a bit; the second half, unlike the first half, wasn't very well played. Maryland was 0-for-10 from three in the second half; their three-point shooting percentage plunged under 25 percent for the game.
Iowa didn't exactly light it up from the perimeter either. Layman played good defense on Uthoff who was 2-of-13 from the field and only scored eight points. For Maryland, Rasheed Sulaimon lifted the energy in the second half, and scored 17 points.
Iowa falls to 16-4 overall, 7-1 in conference; Maryland improves to 18-3 overall, 7-2 in conference.
Welsh-Ryan Arena had a certain buzz last night, but Michigan State extinguished it pretty quickly from the three-point line.
The Spartans led 36-24 at the half, largely due to shooting 8-for-11 from deep. Denzel Valentine, who appeared to be fully recovered from his knee injury and back into his earlier season flow, scored 14 in the first half. (He finished with 19 points for the game.)
Michigan State did not let up in the second half. The story really was Northwestern's shooting, which hovered around 20 percent for the game. Nothing fell for the Wildcats, while Matt McQuaid, Michigan State's talented freshman, hardly missed in the second half. He hit three threes and scored 17 points overall.
Michigan State appeared to right the ship a bit against Maryland and Northwestern. The Spartans are now 18-4 overall, 5-4 in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, Northwestern's sliding ever so slightly. They've now lost four in a row, with Iowa next on the schedule. The Wildcats are 15-7 overall, 3-6 in conference.
When the Buckeyes picked up their defense, they extended the lead against Illinois. The Fighting Illini led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but closed shooting 2-for-16 from the field. Ohio State had a 29-24 lead at halftime, after an extremely slow and uneven start.
Illinois tied the game, with under a minute to go. (It took a 15-2 run to do it.) The Illini got huge plays from freshman Jalen Coleman-Lands who assisted on a bucket to cut the lead to three, and then buried a transition three to even the score 58-58, which was how it would end in regulation.
In overtime, Ohio State took an early lead and didn't relinquish it. For the game, both teams shot under 40 percent from the floor, and under 60 percent at the free throw line.
Ohio State is now 14-8 overall, 6-3 in conference, while Illinois drops to 10-11 overall, 2-6.