Finally, a Tuesday night with more than one game. The Big Ten didn't disappoint on Tuesday night either, as two comebacks were featured, though only one turned into a come-from-behind victory.
Let's take a look at the action.
Game of the Night: Purdue Boilermakers 82, Michigan State Spartans 81 (OT)
The Game of the night featured two ranked teams trying to keep pace with the top-3 in the conference standings. Purdue, as it has so often this season, pounced on the No.8 ranked Spartans early, jumping out to as much as an 17-point advantage. Though, the Paint Crew likely started to experience Vietnam flashbacks to the Iowa game a few weeks ago on the shoulders of Denzel Valentine's game-high 27 points (he completed a double-double with 10 assists).
Not to be outdone, Rapheal Davis scored 24 points with six made 3-pointers, topping Valentine's five. Davis also scored the winning point in overtime, as he was fouled by Valentine 30-feet away from the basket as the Michigan State guard tried to fight through a screen while still trying to block a open lane to the basket for Davis. A.J. Hammons, who scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds sealed the game with an offensive rebound that maybe should been a jump ball, maybe should have been a foul, probably the clock shouldn't have run out then and there.
So of course, a good portion of the talk on twitter was about how bad the officiating in the game was (it really wasn't that bad). I guess some people have yet to come to grips with the fact that Big Ten, and college basketball in general, refereeing is bad, because what do you actually expect when you have three old guys trying to keep up with 10 individuals all at their athletic peaks.
This isn't the final nail in the coffin for Michigan State's Big Ten chances, but they should probably be rooting for Indiana on Thursday before the Spartans welcome the Hoosiers on Sunday. Purdue certainly could use a little help, but they do see two of the top three next week and can propel itself back to the top of the standings.
-Maryland Terrapins 93, Bowie St 62
What the hell is this? Did Rutgers change its name to avoid the ridicule it is facing? This is a game more suitable for the second week of November, not February. Seriously, what was the point of putting in an extra, nothing better than useless, game in the midst of the conference play home stretch?
This game gets absolutely no sincere analysis.
Just when you think Northwestern just might get back on track, and make a push to finally make the NCAA Tournament the Wildcats go and do something like this. The schedule had gotten through it's rough stretch and had at least a decent shot to finish 9-9 in conference when looking at their remaining schedule. You'd think in a game where Tre Demps, Bryan McIntosh, and Alex Olah all scored in double figures the game would at least go down to the wire, especially considering that Northwestern held a multi-possession lead all the way up until right before the under-8 timeout.
The Ohio State Buckeyes figured out their offense in the second half, while Northwestern went cold. The Buckeyes also managed to knock down all 16 of their free throw attempts in the second half. 14 of those came in the final five minutes of the contest. So while the other Big Ten contest featured two teams fighting to stay in the race for the regular season title, this one felt like two teams trying to keep any semblance of Tourney hopes alive.
It was nice having more than one game to write about on a Tuesday. Let's do it again next week.
*Checks next week's schedule*
Oh, Rutgers plays on Tuesday next week. Never mind.