The long, crazy road has brought us to this point. Yesterday, the Big Ten saw its regular season come to an end as seeding for the conference tournament this week rounded into form and the bubble picture for the tournament got a little more interesting.
With four games on the schedule, let’s jump right in and check out how the games unfolded:
Game of the Day:
In what was the only close game of the day in the Big Ten, the conference champion Purdue Boilermakers traveled to a packed Welsh Ryan Arena to face a Northwestern Wildcats team who may have punched their ticket to the Big Dance with their win over Michigan earlier in the week.
This was a back-and-forth game throughout the first half, and was tied 37-37 at the half. Purdue came out strong in the second half and the Boilers were led by junior Vincent Edwards, who finished the game with 25, scoring 16 of those in the first half. It was a great performance by Edwards, along with Caleb Swanigan who finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds in a standard day at the office for him.
Dakota Matthias also played well for the Boilermakers, finishing with 13 points. Purdue only had those three players finish in double digits scoring, but had a really nice contribution from Spike Albrecht, who may have played his best game as a Boilermaker all around, making nice defensive plays and throwing some great passes, running the offense with precision.
The Northwestern Wildcats came out with plenty of energy and effort, and a lack of hustle is certainly not a reason they came up short in this one. They were outscored 17-7 at the free throw line however, and could not off-set that with three point shooting, finishing 4-19 from beyond the three point line. (Purdue struggled as well, also shooting 4-19.)
On the day that he set the program career record in assists, Bryant McIntosh had another great game. The junior point guard finished with 25 points and six assists on 10-17 shooting for the Wildcats who came up just short of another big win for their resume.
The final score of this game makes it look quite a bit more competitive than it truly was. On his senior day, stud guard Peter Jok struggled for the Hawkeyes in the first half. He finished with one point while only playing five minutes due to foul trouble. Despite his struggles, the Hawkeyes were carried by their young players to an eleven point halftime lead.
In the second, Penn State got a steady diet of Jok. He came out of the gates firing, scoring 11 points in the first three minutes of the second half. He finished with 20 in the second half and 21 for the game in only 21 minutes. Nicholas Baer continues to be a great player for the Hawkeyes as well, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, finishing 4-4 from beyond the three point line.
Penn State freshman guard Tony Carr struggled throughout the game to get into any kind of rhythm and eventually picked up a frustration foul and a technical to finish off his rough day. He ended the game with six points on 2-13 shooting. Meanwhile, Josh Reaves had a strong game for the Nittany Lions, finishing with 25 points while Mike Watkins had another double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
In the final game at the Kohl Center for Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, they had a strong showing along with fellow seniors Zak Showalter and Vitto Brown. The senior class finished with 46 of the Badgers 66 points en route to the victory that came off of a dominant second half.
The Golden Gophers held a 29-27 lead at halftime, and the Badgers took over immediately in the second half. They outscored the Gophers 39-20 in the second half to secure the victory and stop the downward slide they had been on to finish out the year.
Koenig finished with 17 points, taking over in the second half and the final minutes. Nigel Hayes finished with 12 points and six rebounds to join Koenig and fellow senior Zak Showalter as the Badgers in double figures.
Nate Mason led the Gophers, who saw their eight game winning streak snapped, finishing with 17 points. Freshman Amir Coffey finished with 13 points for the Gophers as well.
- Michigan Wolverines 93, Nebraska Cornhuskers 57
The final score tells you just about everything you need to know about this game. It was the worst home loss in the history of the Nebraska basketball program, and it got ugly early. It was a masterful shooting display from the Wolverines, who made 14-27 from beyond the three point line and shot 63% overall from the floor.
Nebraska, in a stark contrast, finished the game shooting 2-15 from beyond the three point line and shot 41.2%. Tai Webster was held to single digit scoring for the first time this season, and that was the cherry on top of a bowl of struggles for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Michigan Wolverines were led by Derrick Walton Jr., who finished with an incredible 18 points, 16 assists and five steals. When Michigan is clicking on all cylinders like tonight, they can pose problems for any team in the country.
Nebraska was led by Ed Morrow and Isaiah Roby, who both finished with 10 points apiece. The Cornhuskers turned the ball over 16 times en route to the 36 point dismantling.