Tuesday night was the most anticipated night of the early season for the Big Ten. While most of that anticipation rested with the Michigan State Spartans taking on the Duke Blue Devils in an always headline grabbing #1 vs #2 match up, the Purdue Boilermakers also had an interesting road game at Marquette, an NCAA Tournament team from a year ago trending upward.
While Michigan State came up short against Coach K and the Blue Devils in Chicago, the Boilermakers managed to get a tough road win and Rutgers took care of their home court against Cleveland State. Let’s take a look at how the Tuesday night action unfolded.
Game of the Night
-No. 2 Michigan State Spartans 81, No. 1 Duke Blue Devils 88
The Champions Classic is always one of the most anticipated events of the regular season now in college basketball, pitting four of the top programs in the country against each other with Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Michigan State. Certainly, these two teams fit that headline billing this season, entering the season ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country.
Anytime a court is as loaded with talent and future NBA guys like it was tonight at the United Center, you can expect a game that was as good as this one was. Miles Bridges played well for the Spartans with 19 points, five rebounds, four assists and four blocks, though he was charged with 5 turnovers as well. He was joined with 19 points for Michigan State by freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. and sophomore big man Nick Ward, who did so in only 18 minutes.
With all the freshman star power on the court for the Blue Devils, the senior Grayson Allen proved to be more than the Spartans could handle, finishing with 37 points and making seven three point field goals. He was joined by freshman Trevon Duval with 17 points, 10 assists and six steals, though Duval did need 20 shots to get his 17 points.
The game was tied at 75 with 3:59 remaining on a dunk by Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr., sparking a run for the Duke Blue Devils to finish it off. Allen scored 8 of the last 13 for Duke to claim a big early victory in a measuring stick type game for both schools.
Turnovers reared their ugly head for the Spartans, who turned the ball over 17 times, compared to only 9 from Duke.
Michigan State will return home Sunday to face Stony Brook at 4pm, while Duke returns home to face Southern on Friday evening.
-No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers 86, Marquette Golden Eagles 71
In this Gavitt Games meeting for these teams, Purdue faced their first legitimate high level competition of the season. Marquette is a tournament team from a year ago, returning most of their scoring from a season ago and with one of the most exciting players in the country in Markus Howard. Purdue responded well to the challenge and emerged with a nice road victory that could carry well down the road, depending on the success of Marquette throughout the year.
Isaac Haas led the Boilermakers with his 8th career 20 point game, finishing with 22 points and dominating the front line of the Golden Eagles every minute that he was on the floor. Purdue also managed to overcome their best player, Vincent Edwards, battling foul trouble for much of the game and playing only sporadically. While on the floor, however, Edwards was productive with 10 points, eight rebounds and two assists. He and Haas were joined in double figures for Purdue by Carsen Edwards with 15 and Dakota Mathias with 10.
Andrew Rousey and Markus Howard led the Golden Eagles with 25 and 24 points respectively, but the depth of Purdue eventually wore the young team down and Howard, Matt Heldt and Theo John all fouled out of the game.
Purdue will face Fairfield on Saturday evening at Mackey Arena, while Marquette will begin play in the Maui Invitation against VCU next Monday.
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 70, Cleveland State Vikings 38
Rutgers managed to bounce back from an underwhelming effort against Central Connecticut against Cleveland State on Tuesday night, winning in dominating fashion against a team they should handle that way.
Freshman Geo Baker had an impressive game for Rutgers, finishing with 14 points, seven assists and two rebounds while also not recording a single turnover. Issa Thiam also played well for the Scarlet Knights, finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds. Corey Sanders, the leader of the team, had a great all around performance and finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Rutgers used a dominate 39-16 second half to take control of the game and never look back. Stefan Kenic led the Vikings with 12 points as they struggled to find anything that worked against the defense of the Scarlet Knights.
These are the types of games that Rutgers needs to be winning convincingly for the momentum of the program that Steve Pikiell is building in Piscataway.
Rutgers will face Coppin State at home on Sunday, the same Coppin State that Cleveland State will face on Friday in their home opener.