On the surface, it appeared like light night in the Big Ten, what with only one ranked team (#20 Purdue) in action. However, the matchups were pretty intriguing. Purdue played on the road against a plucky Ohio State team. Northwestern-Minnesota featured two improved programs over a year ago and both have sizable ambitions. Lastly, Nebraska met Iowa hoping to move to 3-0 in the Big Ten.
Three games decided by a total of eight points, let’s take a closer look at the game.
Big Ten Game of the Day:
-Purdue Boilermakers 76, Ohio State Buckeyes 75
The game was tied nine times and the lead changed another nine times, even though the Boilermakers led for more than 26 minutes. Even though Ohio State made a great run in the second half and shot 40 percent from three, Ohio State ultimately couldn’t close the gap.
In the losing effort, four Buckeyes finished in double figures. Jae-Sean Tate led the way with 17 points, and Mark Loving pitched in 14 points and eight rebounds.
Ohio State got beat pretty badly on the glass, which isn’t necessarily a surprise when playing Purdue. The Boilermakers held a 12-rebound advantage; eight of those were offensive rebounds, which led to 19 second chance points.
For the Boilermakers, four of five starters were in double figures. Vince Edwards had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Caleb Swanigan struggled (4-of-12 from the field) but finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. His freethrow with five second left gave Purdue a one-point lead for good.
Ohio State falls to 10-5 overall, and is now 0-2 in conference. The Buckeyes travel next to Minnesota to take on the Gophers on January 8th. For Purdue, now 13-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten, a big date with Wisconsin looms (at home) on Sunday.
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 70, Northwestern Wildcats 66
What a difference a year makes. The roster has turned over pretty significantly, mainly due to an influx of talent. The Gophers are impressive in the early going, and really should be 3-0 in the Big Ten.
Down by four at the half 39-35, Minnesota rallied on the road. Northwestern didn’t help itself on offense. The Wildcats took 26 threes, and only made six. (Although, the Gophers’ perimeter defense has been pretty good so far. With all their length and athleticism on the perimeter, it’s hard to get good looks.)
Amir Coffey, the talented Gopher freshman, scored 17 points on 7-for-12 from the floor. Reggie Lynch had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Nate Mason also scored 12 points and dished out seven assists. The Gophers are now 2-1 in the Big Ten (14-2 overall), already equaling last season’s conference win total. Just for a little perspective, the Gophers didn’t collect the program’s second Big Ten win until February 23rd (Rutgers). The Gophers host Ohio State on Sunday.
For Northwestern, Bryant McIntosh finished with 21 points, and Vic Law scored 14. Losers of two in a row, the Wildcats have a favorable upcoming Big Ten schedule, and take on Nebraska on Sunday.
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 93, Iowa Hawkeyes 90 (2OT)
Nebraska’s probably the biggest early surprise in Big Ten play. The Cornhuskers are undefeated in conference, and won two huge road games (Indiana, Maryland), and now has beaten Iowa.
The game featured two really outstanding performances on either side. Peter Jok scored 34 points, continuing to build on his really stellar season. Glynn Watson Jr. for Nebraska, dropped 34 points and went 7-for-8 from the three point line. Cornhusker Tai Webster also had 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Iowa falls to 9-7 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten, and takes on Rutgers on Sunday. Nebraska’s now 3-0 in conference and 9-6 overall, and plays Northwestern next.