The Big Ten had a brutal Wednesday of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, going 1-6 on the night to lose the challenge for the first time since 2008. Five of Wednesday’s six games were decided by single digits, as the Big Ten was on the losing end of three one-possession games. The final tally for the three-day challenge is nine wins for the ACC and five wins for the Big Ten.
Game of the Day:
-Indiana 76, North Carolina 67
The Big Ten’s lone win of the night came in the most-hyped matchup.
It didn’t disappoint for Indiana fans, as the No. 13 Hoosiers took it to No. 3 North Carolina in an enthusiastic Assembly Hall that was rocking from the get-go.
Indiana seemingly fed off the crowd’s emotion as they jumped out to an 8-2 lead. It seemed to snowball from there, as Indiana opened up a 28-11 lead after holding the high-scoring Tar Heels scoreless for about seven minutes of action.
The Hoosiers held on from there, handing the Tar Heels their first loss of the year. The win shows that Indiana can compete with anyone when they are locked in.
The Hoosiers showcased their variety of offensive threats, with all five starters making at least one 3-pointer and scoring in double figures.
Sophomore forward O.G. Anunoby had a team-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, while James Blackmon Jr. finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Thomas Bryant chipped in 14 points, Robert Johnson added 11 points and Josh Newkirk had 10 points.
Indiana’s defense will have to be there if they want to win the Big Ten, and it sure was on Wednesday. The Hoosiers easily held the Tar Heels to their season low in scoring, as North Carolina entered the day averaging 92.9 points per game.
North Carolina shot just 39.3 percent (24-61) from the field, 28.6 percent (6-21) from the 3-point line and 59.1 percent (13-22) from the free-throw line.
-Virginia Tech 73, Michigan 70
The best action of the night might have been between the Wolverines and Hokies. It appeared Michigan was going to roll over Virginia Tech, as Zak Irvin and the Wolverines were hitting on all cylinders on their way to a 29-15 lead with six minutes left in the first half.
The lead was still comfortable midway through the second half, as Michigan held a 60-50 lead with 8:15 to go.
But Virginia Tech rallied from there, grabbing their first lead of the night when Seth Allen laid it in to give the Hokies a 68-67 advantage with 1:50 play.
The Wolverines had an opportunity to tie it, but Duncan Robinson’s contested 3-pointer from the left wing came off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
The Hokies had a huge advantage at the free-throw line, connecting on 19-of-21 free-throw attempts compared to 4-of-7 for the Wolverines. That will likely be a common theme for a Michigan team that relies on the outside shot.
Irvin scored a game-high 23 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Duncan Robinson added 15 points off the Michigan bench, while Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 13 points and Moritz Wagner finished with 11 points.
-Virginia 63, Ohio State 61
The matchup of unbeatens didn’t disappoint, but No. 6 Virginia’s vaunted defense showed up when it mattered most.
Ohio State took a 36-24 lead into halftime and led for much of the night, but the Cavaliers clamped down in the second half to come from behind.
Virginia took a 59-57 lead after Marial Shayok’s layup with 2:07 to play. The Cavaliers led the rest of the way, as Ohio State struggled to get a good look down the stretch. The Buckeyes had the final possession of the night, but JaQuan Lyle couldn’t find any room to attack, hoisting a 3-pointer from well behind the arc.
The Buckeyes had the best offensive performance of any Virginia opponent this season. Virginia was allowing just 41.3 points per game entering Wednesday, but the Buckeyes managed to shoot 50 percent (22-44) from the field and put up 61 points. However, Ohio State committed 20 turnovers, including eight for Lyle.
Junior forward Jae’Sean Tate led the Buckeyes with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Lyle added 12 points and five assists.
London Perrantes, Virginia’s senior leader, was huge down the stretch, finishing with a game-high 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
Despite the loss, the previously unbeaten — and unchallenged — Buckeyes showed that they have what it takes to compete with a top-10 team. Ohio State’s previous toughest game came in a 72-67 win over Providence on Nov. 17. They had won their last three games by an average margin of 33.3 points.
-Clemson 60, Nebraska 58
Another game that the Big Ten led at halftime, Nebraska couldn’t hold on in a 60-58 road loss to Clemson.
Glynn Watson Jr. nearly pulled it out for the Cornhuskers. The sophomore guard sunk a 3-pointer with 1:39 left to make it 58-58, but that was the last bucket Nebraska could get.
Watson got to the basket a couple of times down the stretch, including off a steal with seven seconds left, but couldn’t connect. Tai Webster also had a chance with two seconds left, but Clemson held on for the win.
Watson finished with 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals on 9-of-19 shooting. Webster added 12 points, Ed Morrow had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Michael Jacobson chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds.
The depth wasn’t there for the Cornhuskers, as the bench combined to score just five points.
Nebraska shot just 39.7 percent (25-63) from the field, 22.2 percent (4-18) from the 3-point line and 57.1 percent (4-7) from the free-throw line.
-Louisville 71, Purdue 64
An ugly first half doomed Purdue on Wednesday.
Louisville’s quickness and aggressiveness clearly frustrated a Purdue team that relies heavily on their frontcourt.
That frontcourt, of Caleb Swanigan, Isaac Haas and Vince Edwards, was held to just 1 point in the first half as the Boilermakers went into the locker room with a 33-19 deficit. It could have been worse, but the Boilermakers were able to stay relatively close thanks to poor Louisville shooting and a pair of late 3-pointers by Ryan Cline.
Swanigan bounced back in the second half to keep Purdue close. The sophomore finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals, but committed six of Purdue’s 17 turnovers. Haas finished with 8 points and five rebounds, while Edwards continued to struggle, coming away with just 1 point on 0-of-4 shooting.
P.J. Thompson added 13 points for the Boilermakers, connecting on 3-of-4 shots from behind the arc.
Purdue made just nine shots inside the 3-point line, shooting 35.8 percent (19-53) from the field, 43.5 percent (10-23) from the 3-point line and 72.7 percent (16-22) from the free-throw line.
During the broadcast, ESPN’s Jay Bilas pointed out how he thinks Haas and Swanigan can’t play together against quick teams like Louisville. The Cardinals extended their defense well past the 3-point line, which didn’t give the Purdue guards any space to get entry passes into the big men. This could be a problem as the season progresses, but, thankfully for Purdue, there aren’t many teams in the Big Ten that play this style.
The Boilermakers entered the day with seven straight wins in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the longest active streak.
-Miami 73, Rutgers 61
Rutgers’ surprising 6-0 start — their best since 1975-76 — came to an end at Miami on Wednesday.
Within 34-28 at halftime, Rutgers went on a nine-minute scoring drought early in the second half. The Scarlet Knights went 0-for-11 during the stretch, as Miami went on a 17-0 run to open up a 53-32 lead.
Junior guard Mike Williams came off the bench to pace Rutgers with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Sophomore guard Corey Sanders added 12 points for the Scarlet Knights, who shot just 36.5 percent (23-63) from the field and 18.8 percent (3-16) from behind the arc.
Rutgers has had a rebounding advantage all season, but were outrebounded 44-30 by the Hurricanes.