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2/14 Big Ten Recap: Swanigan & Haas Are Pretty Good At Basketball

Purdue dominated Rutgers while Michigan State kept their tournament hopes alive.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Of the three games on the Big Ten schedule Tuesday night, only one was a foregone conclusion. Purdue was never going to lose to Rutgers, but the other two matchups were intriguing ones.

Nebraska trounced Penn State in Lincoln and Michigan State ended up pulling away from the Buckeyes despite the score being close for the majority of the game.

Let’s take a look at what happened Tuesday night in the Big Ten.

Big Ten Game of The Day

-Michigan State 74, Ohio State 66

All told, this was a super entertaining game.

Sparty’s offense was clicking in ways it hadn’t in weeks; they went a collective 40% from behind the arc and managed to put together extended scoring runs to keep the Buckeyes at bay.

Ohio State’s best offensive player in this game was Marc Loving, who dropped a game-high 22 points to go alone with two steals and a rebound. This is his second consecutive double-digit scoring effort in a loss; he scored 24 points on Saturday in OSU’s loss at Maryland. JaQuan Lyle had a nice game coming off the bench for the Buckeyes, scoring 10 points and collecting seven rebounds–the same amount as starting center Trevor Thompson.

Alvin Ellis was the top-scorer for the Spartans on Tuesday night, scoring 18 points on a sizzling hot six for nine from deep. Miles Bridges scored 17 points of his own, to go along with a game-high 11 boards. He looked like a former five-star prospect tonight.

Ohio State hosts Nebraska on Saturday. That game, from the looks of it, might have some serious NIT implications.

Sparty heads to West Lafayette on Saturday to face Purdue. Every game for the rest of the season is a must win for MSU. But if they can beat the Boilermakers on the road, it might just put them right back into the tournament conversation again.

The Rest

Nebraska 82, Penn State 66

You all saw it.

The moment that Jack McVeigh’s first half buzzer-beating heave went in, the momentum shifted so strongly in Nebraska’s direction that Penn State was never going to get out of the eight point hole they then found themselves in.

It reminded me of Caris LeVert’s epic no-look three-pointer against Michigan State in 2014:

Michigan had started that game slow, but got cooking at the end of the first half. They ended up winning that game by a comfortable margin, and to this day, I feel that Caris’ big shot was a big reason why they managed to do that.

In the second half of tonight’s game in Lincoln, sure, the Nittany Lions would not have scored if their lives depended on it. And while that caveat applies, it is also very important to mention that Nebraska was absolutely playing their best ball of the year.

Jordy Tshimanga’s name was constantly being called and that’s because he was a force in this game. The 6’11 Canadian scored 12 points on six of seven from the field. He also added seven rebounds, for good measure. Tai Webster also scored 12 points, and would have had much more had he not gone zero for five from deep. Glynn Watson Jr. and the aforementioned Jack McVeigh put in 15 points each.

I can’t say I remember the last time Nebraska had four players end up in double-figures for scoring. As I mentioned, they head to Columbus on Saturday for a pretty important game for them to win. The Huskers would be very happy to see some of their fire in tonight’s game spill over into their showdown with the Buckeyes.

Penn State’s next game is Monday against Purdue at the Bryce Jordan Center. They really need to win that game if they want any shot at the tournament. Although, with a loss to a mediocre Nebraska team and a home loss to Rutgers, it may already be too late for the Nittany Lions.

Still, this team has beaten Maryland this season, so I guess we’ll have to see if a little rest will have them well prepared for a tough Purdue team.

#16 Purdue 74, Rutgers 55

Alright, yeah.

Rutgers did actually make this one interesting. The Boilermakers were up just 33-26 at the half. A small run to open the second half, capped off by C.J Gettys jumper, cut the score down to 35-31 for Purdue.

That would be the last time the game was close.

Led by a a 12 point, 17 rebound performance from Caleb Swanigan and a 24 point, 11 rebound game from Isaac Haas, the Boilermakers took off with the game in the second half. They managed to outscore the Scarlet Knights 41-29 in the half, never relinquishing the double-digit lead they were able to build.

A pair of double-doubles from the Purdue big men paced them to the win. Carsen Edwards and Dakota Mathias both had subpar offensive performances, but still managed to score nine points apiece (both on three three-pointers) while collecting three and four rebounds, respectively.

As for Rutgers, despite the loss a few Scarlet Knights still managed to turn in good performances. Nigel Johnson chipped in with 23 points, collected two rebounds and had two steals from off the bench. Forward Deshawn Freeman also finished in double digits for points, putting in 12 and collecting five boards.

Rutgers travels to Northwestern on Saturday. They likely won’t win that game and the Wildcats will all but seal their first tournament bid in program history if they avoid the upset. Purdue will welcome Michigan State on Saturday and that game shouldn’t be intense at all, nope.