Sunday’s docket only contained two Big Ten games, but that didn’t mean it didn’t come with some action. Michigan State went on the road to face a solid Ohio State team and Maryland hoped to rebound against Iowa.
Let’s take a look at how the games played out.
Game of the Night:
Although Michigan State has been tearing through opponents for much of the season, Sunday marked just the team’s second road game of the season and its first against a top 100 opponent. As such, Buckeye fans were hoping that Ohio State could surprise the Spartans and score a huge upset at home.
Early on, the game looked highly competitive. Ohio State held a narrow 15-14 through the first portion of the game. However, the Buckeyes used a late first half rally to head into halftime with a 41-29 lead over the top-ranked Spartans.
In the second half, it was more of the same. Ohio State used a great performance from Keita Bates-Diop to stay ahead of Michigan State. The Spartans were never in serious contention to win the game for the final 20 minutes and fell, 80-64.
For Ohio State, this is easily the team’s biggest win of the season and cements what Chris Holtmann has done so far in Columbus. He took a team projected near the bottom of the league and just upset one of the best teams in the nation. Ohio State now sits at 13-4 overall and 4-0 in Big Ten play. Watch out for the Buckeyes.
On the other side, Sunday exposed some issues that Michigan State will hope to address before March. The Spartans had trouble with turnovers, fouling, and outside shooting for much of the afternoon. The backcourt and Nick Ward also put up underwhelming performances. These things will need to improve going forward.
Michigan State will move on to face Rutgers at home on Wednesday. Ohio State will face Maryland at home on Thursday.
-Maryland Terrapins 91, Iowa Hawkeyes 73
After Thursday’s debacle on the road against Michigan State, few knew what to expect out of Maryland on Sunday night. With Ivan Bender and Justin Jackson out for the season, this would be a new Terp team trying to hold its ground against Iowa. On the other side, Iowa was just hoping to get its first league win.
The Hawkeyes challenged the Terps early on, but fell apart in the second half. Notably, Maryland outscored Iowa by a 28-9 margin to close the game. The big performer was Bruno Fernando, who scored 21 points and had seven rebounds for the Terps. In total, six Maryland players would score double-figures.
Maryland will now move on to face Ohio State on the road on Thursday. Similarly, Iowa will face Illinois on the road on Thursday as well. This game should be an important one for Maryland’s postseason hopes. Losing to a team like Iowa at home would have been a major blow to the team’s RPI.