For most of the Big Ten, this weekend was routine in gathering early-season wins against less than stellar opponents. For Michigan State, however, the question now becomes how good is this team, following the blowout loss to Kentucky and now last night’s narrow escape from Florida Gulf Coast at home.
Game of the Night:
-Michigan State 78, Florida Gulf Coast 77
This game was part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament that will take place later this week, and the Eagles, who are a far cry from the “Dunk City” tournament team of a few years ago, nearly had a case for replacing the Spartans in the actual field of four.
The Eagles never led until late in the second half, when they grabbed a four-point lead over the Spartans, 68-64. Michigan State fought back to take the lead and held a one-point advantage with three seconds left and Eron Harris at the line for two.
Harris proceeded to miss both free throws, FGCU pulled down the rebound and called a timeout with 2.4 on the clock. The Eagles’ first inbound attempt at a full-court pass was denied on the in-bound pass by Miles Bridges wasting nearly a second off the clock.
The second pass attempt found its mark, but the clock started with the ball in mid-air and the buzzer went off before the last-second shot was even attempted. After a brief discussion, no time was added to the clock and the game was declared over.
Feel free to check out official Bo Boroski’s explanation to a reporter.
So Michigan State is now 2-2 on the season, and has the Battle 4 Atlantis to get things on track this week with a showdown with top-ranked Duke looming next week.
-Iowa 95, UT Rio Grande Valley 67
Apparently a vaquero is a person who herds cattle while riding a horse, so don’t say that BTPowerhouse doesn’t teach you anything.
I’m not sure even the most die-hard of Hawkeyes fans didn’t find something better to do with their Sunday than watch this game.
If you did watch, you saw Peter Jok score 27 points while going 5-for-8 from deep, which is pretty cool.
It was a bounce-back win after the loss to Seton Hall, so Iowa is now 3-1 and will face No.8 Virginia on Thursday.
-Maryland 71, Towson 66
Of the five games on Sunday, this was the only other one with any real excitement. Maryland improved to 4-0 on the early season, but needed a big second half comeback to do so in this one.
The Tigers actually led by as many as 13 in the second half, before Maryland was able to storm back and secure the win, led by Melo Trimble’s 27 points, going 16-for-17 from the free throw line.
Freshman Justin Jackson scored 21 points the more conventional way, going 8-for-13 from the floor and 5-for-7 from beyond the arc.
The Terrapins continue play in the Barclays Center Classic, with three games this week.
-Penn State 50, Cincinnati 71
Penn State finished the weekend at the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off 0-2, with a lackluster performance on Sunday after playing No.1 Duke pretty well on Saturday.
Shep Garner did score 20 points, but this game was never close as Cincinnati led by as much as 22 in the first half.
The Nittany Lions are 2-3 with key games against the likes of Georgia Tech, Pitt, and St. Johns looming still in the non-conference schedule. Certainly the season is not a loss already, but those three games could be key if Penn State wants any kind of shot at being a part of postseason play.
If you were disappointed with the Big Ten’s offering of games this weekend, don’t fret. Plenty of big match-ups this Feast Week, and things get under way with four Big Ten teams, two against Power 5 opponents, on Monday.
Rutgers 78, Niagara 65
Is it too early to call Rutgers a tournament contender at 4-0 on the early season? Yes, very much so.
But Rutgers should actually be favored in seven of its next eight games and could be sitting at 11-1 in a few short weeks. The Scarlet Knights could also be 6-6 by then, but it’s kind of the fun to think about Rutgers optimistically right now.
In a very Rutgers way of winning, not a single starter scored in double-figures. Nigel Johnson scored in double figures for the third time off the bench this season, scoring 20. I may be just spit-balling here, but maybe it is time to find a way to have Johnson start games.
Matt Scott scored 30 for the Purple Eagles, unfortunately, he had little help from his teammates and was nearly half of Niagara’s offense.