On Sunday, there was no shortage of Big Ten games to go around. Five games took place on New Year’s day and there’s a whole lot we can learn from them.
Here’s a closer look at what took place.
Game of the Night:
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 91, Purdue Boilermakers 82 (OT)
Sunday’s matchup between No. 15 ranked Purdue and Minnesota was one to remember. Both teams entered the game 12-2, but only one left victorious.
Even with Minnesota’s great start to the season, Purdue was the clear favorite. However, as the game began, Minnesota quickly showed that they meant business, going on a 17-4 run to start the game. Minnesota went on to lead throughout the entire first period, closing out the half, 38-35.
Purdue eventually controlled the lead with sixteen minutes remaining in the second. Coming into a game against arguably the Big Ten’s best team, and best player in Caleb Swanigan, not too many people could have foreseen this taking place.
The two teams continued to change leads throughout the rest of the second half.
Down 73-71 with five seconds remaining, Swanigan got the ball and knocked down a jumper, sending the game into overtime. As the extra period began, Minnesota took over. They would lead the entire period, winning the game, 91-82.
Swanigan was magnificent for Purdue, scoring 28 points and grabbing an astounding 22 rebounds. However, his performance alone could not outweigh Minnesota’s collective effort. The Gophers had five players score in double figures while Guard Nate Mason contributed 31 points, eleven assists and six rebounds. In order for Minnesota to compete with Purdue’s level of talent, team play is key.
It may be a bit too early to predict what Minnesota will do if they end up making the NCAA Tournament, but they certainly have potential.
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 67, Maryland Terrapins 65
Nebraska walked into this Sunday afternoon game looking to pickup their second Big Ten win and legitimize their victory over No. 16 ranked Indiana. In a game filled with surprising comebacks and strong plays, Maryland’s Melo Trimble fell short for the Terrapins, unable to make the game-winning shot with seven seconds remaining. Tai Webster was terrific for Nebraska, notching 18 points in the win. Although it may be unexpected, Nebraska is now 2-0 in conference play.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 86, Michigan Wolverines 83 (OT)
This matchup was yet another nail-biting game that took place in the Big Ten on Sunday. Peter Jok lead the way for Iowa with 25 points and five rebounds in the win. He capped off the night by scoring Iowa’s final five points in overtime. Michigan put up a strong performance with five players scoring in double figures, but were unable to walk away with a victory. Michigan is now 0-1 in Big Ten play.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 60, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 47
Rutgers has previously struggled in the Big Ten, and New Year’s Day brought nothing new. They shot just 29 percent in their loss with only Mike Williams and Corey Sanders scoring 10 or more points. Penn State did not play significantly better, but was able to control the lead throughout the majority of the game. Both teams will need to make sizable improvements to compete in the Big Ten.
-Illinois Fighting Illini 75, Ohio State Buckeyes 70
Illinois had a solid all-around performance in the victory. Four players reached double figures, while Leron Black brought in a hefty fifteen rebounds. The matchup was tight all the way through. Illinois was able to hold onto the lead with two free-throws from Tracy Abrams in the final moments of the second half. Ohio State’s JaQuan Lyle had a game-high 26 points, but was unable to walk away with a win. Ohio State will need other players to step up, in order to win future games.