There were two games on the slate in the Big Ten on Sunday, and the home teams protected their home court in both of them. There was plenty to keep you entertained in both games, from deep last second threes going in to star power being in full display.
With NCAA Tournament implications and conference standing battles, there’s always plenty of drama to go around, and that was certainly the case on Sunday. Let’s take a look at how the games unfolded:
Game of the Day:
With two teams battling to improve to 11-3 in the conference, there were plenty of reasons to watch this game. Aside from the standings, this game featured some serious star power. With Bronson Koenig making his return to the lineup after missing the game against Michigan, he came back to join Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ en route to a home victory.
While the Terrapins couldn’t come up with the road win, it certainly wasn’t the fault of their star, Melo Trimble. Trimble scored 27 points in the game, making tough layups as well as deep threes. He also grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists. The amount of pressure that an aggressive Trimble puts on the defense is so crucial to the success of the Terrapins.
Ethan Happ led the way for the Badgers with 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists in only 29 minutes. Nigel Hayes had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds while playing 38 minutes. Koenig came off the bench to score nine points, all in the second half but only shot 4-11 from the field.
In a game that was important as this one, it truly did come down to the little things. Happ and Hayes combined to attempt more free throws than the entire Maryland team, 25-23. Wisconsin as a team shot 37 free throws, though they struggled from the charity stripe making only 21 of their attempts. Maryland, however, also struggled from the line, making only 14 of their 23 attempts.
This was a huge win for a Wisconsin team that hadn’t been playing their best basketball over the past few weeks, but still sit at 11-3 in the conference and 22-5 overall. The Terrapins dropped to 10-4 in the conference and are also 22-5 on the season.
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 83, Michigan Wolverines 78 (OT)
This was a phenomenal basketball game that came down to what was basically a desperation three at the end of regulation by Michigan’s D.J. Wilson to force overtime. Michigan came back from a 68-60 deficit in the final minutes to force overtime , but the Golden Gophers proved to be very resilient and went on to claim the win.
It was Nate Mason and Jordan Murphy who controlled things down the stretch for the Gophers, with Mason breaking down the defense time and time again and Jordan Murphy finishing at the basket. Murphy finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds following being named the conference player of the week last week, and Mason added 13 points, eight assists and four rebounds.
Derrick Walton Jr. was a key contributor for the Wolverines, leading the comeback to force overtime. He also had a great look from the right wing in the closing seconds of overtime that would have forced a second overtime, but it rattled out. D.J. Wilson hit the big shot to force overtime, and minutes later, hit another three to draw Michigan back within one with 11 seconds left.
In the end, however, the Golden Gophers made just enough free throws to secure the win and push themselves to 20-7 overall and 8-6 in the Big Ten. Michigan came in to the game on a three game winning streak, but their rally came up just short and the dropped to 17-10 overall and 7-7 in the Big Ten.