The Big Ten split four games on Wednesday night, as Wisconsin and Maryland handled business while Nebraska and Penn State suffered losses in a fairly quiet night in the conference.
Big Ten Game of the Day:
-Creighton 77, Nebraska 62
Nebraska had a big opportunity on Wednesday, hosting 10th-ranked Creighton in an in-state matchup. The Cornhuskers came up short, failing to keep up in the second half to drop their fourth game of a five-game stretch.
The Cornhuskers stuck with the Bluejays for 24 minutes, trailing just 31-30 at halftime and 39-37 with 16 minutes to play.
But Creighton looked like a top-10 team over the next six minutes, holding Nebraska scoreless as they opened up a 51-37 advantage. The Bluejays led by double-digits the rest of the way to even the all-time series at 25-25. Creighton has won their last six games against Nebraska, all by double-digits.
The Huskers are scoring just 61 points per game in their four losses. They struggled from the outside on Wednesday, shooting 32.4 percent (23-71) from the field, including just 13.6 percent (3-22) from the 3-point line.
Nebraska senior guard Tai Webster had a solid all-around night, finishing with 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals despite struggling with his outside shot. No other Cornhusker scored in double figures.
Maurice Watson Jr. had a season-high 25 points for the Bluejays.
-Wisconsin 78, Idaho State 44
No. 17 Wisconsin held Idaho State scoreless for the first six minutes as the Badgers built up a 10-0 lead, and eventually grabbed a 21-3 advantage after more than 11 minutes of play.
The Badgers had a huge advantage inside, outscoring the Bengals 44-14 in the paint and holding a 47-21 rebounding advantage.
Wisconsin’s triumvirate of Ethan Happ, Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig combined to score 44 points, matching the entire Idaho State team.
Hayes and Happ took control in the first half, each getting to the rim and scoring in double figures to stake Wisconsin to a 35-16 halftime lead. Hayes finished the night with 11 points and four rebounds, while Happ had his fourth double-double in the last six games, collecting 12 points, 12 rebounds and three assists on 5-of-6 shooting.
Koenig was relatively quiet until a scoring flurry midway through the second half. The senior guard appeared to be surprised by how much room his defenders were giving him, and splashed a couple of 3-pointers before the Badgers emptied the bench. Koenig finished with a game-high 21 points, shooting 7-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc.
Wisconsin shot 51.7 percent (30-58) from the field, while holding Idaho State to 33.3 percent (16-48) shooting.
The biggest negative for the Badgers was their 54.5 percent (12-22) free-throw shooting, something that could spell trouble as the games tighten up during the Big Ten schedule.
Wisconsin held Idaho State leading scorer Ethan Telfair — yep, Sebastian’s brother -- to just two points, well below his average of 19.8 points per game.
-Maryland 79, Howard 56
Maryland pulled away early in the second half and routed Howard to improve to 6-1 at home on the season.
Maryland junior forward Michal Cekovsky, starting in place of the injured Damonte Dodd, tied a career high with 16 points and three blocks, shooting 8-of-9 from the field.
Jaylen Brantley came off the bench to make four 3-pointers and score 14 points.
Melo Trimble wasn’t asked to do too much on Wednesday, finishing with 10 points, four assists and two steals on 4-of-8 shooting.
The Terrapins were clicking offensively, shooting 50 percent (29-58) from the field, 40 percent (12-30) from the 3-point line and 81.8 percent (9-11) from the free-throw line.
Howard’s Charles Williams finished with a game-high 21 points off the bench.
-George Mason 85, Penn State 66
Penn State’s four-game winning streak came to an end as visiting George Mason pulled away over the final 10 minutes of the second half.
The Nittany Lions took a 38-37 lead into halftime and were within striking range midway through the second half, trailing 57-53 with 9:36 to play.
The Patriots turned it on over the next two-and-a-half minutes, scoring the next 10 points and opening up a 67-53 lead. George Mason led by double figures the rest of the way, handing Penn State their second-biggest loss of the season.
The Nittany Lions, who were allowing just 59.3 points per game during their winning streak, gave up more than 80 points for the second time this year.
Penn State junior forward Payton Banks scored a team-high 21 points, while Shep Garner and Lamar Stevens each chipped in 13 points.
The Nittany Lions had trouble down low, as George Mason held a 44-16 advantage in points in the paint and had a 44-29 advantage on the glass.