A few Big Ten teams were in action on Monday night. The Purdue Boilermakers faced the defending national champion and #4 ranked Villanova Wildcats at Mackey Arena in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Minnesota Golden Gophers took on UT Arlington, the Ohio State Buckeyes faced North Carolina Central and the Northwestern Wildcats were matched up with Eastern Washington.
Here’s a recap of how the games played out and some keys to each outcome.
11/14 Game of the Night:
- Villanova 79, Purdue 76
In the first of the Gavitt Tipoff games, the Purdue Boilermakers hosted the defending national champions, the Villanova Wildcats. In a packed and rocking Mackey Arena, the poised and experienced Wildcats came out of the gates firing, but Purdue managed to keep it close. Led by preseason Big East Player of the Year Josh Hart, the Wildcats jumped out to a 10 point lead in the first half.
The Boilermakers fought back and with a miraculous half-court shot by guard P.J. Thompson at the halftime buzzer, the Boilers tied the game at 39 heading into the locker room. To start the second half, Villanova once again took control of the game, jumped out to a 56-45 lead and the Boilers were again in catch up mode. Again, however, they responded. A Carsen Edwards three made it 61-60 Villanova, and it seemed the Boilers had all the momentum.
They made multiple comebacks during the game, but could never make that run to surge ahead and take the lead. The Boilers got in early foul trouble with Isaac Haas picking up three first half fouls and Caleb Swanigan having two. This limited the Boilers ability to use their size advantage in the first half, but that evened out in the second half. The difference in the game seemed to be the guard play of Villanova and their free throw shooting down the stretch. Josh Hart led the game in scoring with 24 points, while Caleb Swanigan had another nice showing for the Boilermakers with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
- Northwestern 86, Eastern Washington 72
In a game where it seemed like Northwestern was just allowing Eastern Washington to hang around and hang around, the Wildcats did come away with the victory against an upset hungry team on Monday night.
Vic Law led the Wildcats in scoring with a career high 26 points, his second consecutive game establishing a new career scoring mark. The numbers were fairly even across the board until you get to one of the bigger numbers on a box score. Turnovers. The Wildcats protected the ball wonderfully, finishing with only 5 turnovers, a mark coaches dream of. Meanwhile, they forced EWU into 14 turnovers, making a huge difference in the final outcome.
- Minnesota 84, UT Arlington 67
The Minnesota Golden Gophers had an impressive early season showing, granted against less than equal competition. However, the Gophers finished with 84 points, and more impressively they had 6 players finishing in double figures.
Freshman Amir Coffey had 10 points in the second half, and the team was led in scoring by Reggie Lynch, who finished with 14. The balance is key for the Golden Gophers to continue success into the season. Nate Mason finished with a nice line of 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists and Jordan Murphy added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
- Ohio State 69, NC Central 63
Despite at what teams seemed like their best efforts, the Ohio State Buckeyes managed to come out on top at home against NC Central. Regardless, a win is a win and while they certainly aren’t happy with the method, they’re happy with the result.
The Buckeyes shot just 6-21 from beyond the three point line, and more importantly they managed to make only 11 of their 23 free throw attempts. The Buckeyes turned the ball over 14 times, not a horrifying mark but certainly not what you’d look for in these early season tune up games. It was covered up, however, by the fact that they forced 21 NC Central turnovers. Jae’Sean Tate led the Buckeyes with 21 points and 10 rebounds while freshman center Micah Potter added 13 points.