Friday night was a busy one for the Big Ten as five teams were in action. It was the opening exhibition for a good group of teams, including some NCAA Tournament squads from last season including Iowa and Michigan.
Although exhibitions never tell the full story of what’s to come, they do offer fans a unique glimpse into the teams and their futures. It’s also a great opportunity to see some bench players in action.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the exhibitions.
Big Ten Friday Night Recap
-Illinois 95, Lewis 51
The biggest storyline in this one was the impressive play by Jalen Coleman-Lands. He started to heat up early and kept it going for a big part of the game. With the departure of Kendrick Nunn this offseason, Illinois needs a big year from JCL and he certainly showed that he has the potential to do just that on Friday night.
Along with JCL, Illinois fans also have to feel encouraged based upon how Mike Thorne, Jr. performed. He’s returning after a major injury last season and fans are hoping that he can be the answer upfront this season. He finished with 12 points. Illinois freshman Te'Jon Lucas only had two points in 11 minutes.
-Iowa 97, Regis 73
Arguably the most notable thing for Iowa on Friday night actually happened before the game as true freshman Tyler Cook was able to lock down a starting spot. He came to Iowa City with plenty of hype, but backed it up by starting in his first game.
Pter Jok also showed out in this game, finishing with an impressive 28 points to kick off his Big Ten Player of the Year campaign. Christian Williams also finished with 11 points.
-Michigan 77, Armstrong State 49
Although the Wolverines started the game off without Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, things went pretty easy afterward. Michigan came out firing on the offensive end and fed off Armstrong State turnovers for most of the first half.
Two players who showed some solid periods of play were Ibi Watson and Moritz Wagner. Watson showed a nice spark off the bench off a turnover and showed the ability to get open from outside. Wagner was matched up against vastly undersized players, but did his job and scored regularly. His footwork looked much better as well.
-Northwestern 89, University of Illinois Springfield 52
Slow start and sloppy play for Northwestern to start the game. Scottie Lindsey and Sanjay Lumpkin started over Aaron Falzon and Jordan Ash. As expected, Chris Collins didn’t stick to the true five positions.
Isiah Brown stole the show with his play and it is evident he has great chemistry with Bryant McIntosh. He’s a shifty player and loves to drive to the basket. He went 7-11, 2-3 from deep and 2-2 from the foul line
-Penn State 95, Lock Haven 61
The Nittany Lions got a nice win on Friday night at home over Lock Haven and got to debut its talented group of freshmen. Perhaps no Penn State freshman had more hype than Tony Carr coming into this season and he delivered well. He started the game and scored 15 points on the evening in his first game as a Nittany Lion.
Other than the true freshman, the one noteworthy player was Mike Watkins. It was his first game after redshirting last year and he made quite a spark. He showed an impressive handle for a big man and had a massive slam later in the game.