The Big Ten had five games on Friday night, including the conclusion to the 2018 Gavitt Games and a marquee matchup between Iowa and UConn. It was a fun night of action where fans were left to slip between channels for most of the evening.
Here’s a look at what happened on Friday.
Game of the Day:
-Iowa Hawkeyes 91, Connecticut Huskies 72
Talk about a swing for Hawkeye fans. After a frustrating 2017-’18 season and a slow start this year, many were thinking the worst. It very well looked like the team could be in for another rough year after battling with UMKC and Green Bay at home to open the season.
Well, that’s no longer the case.
Iowa headed to New York City this week to participate in the 2K Classic and impressed. The Hawkeyes opened up with a win against a top 20 KenPom opponent in Oregon and then followed that up by beating UConn on Friday night. And that game wasn’t even all that competitive, with Iowa taking control rather early.
The leader for the Hawkeyes on Friday night was Tyler Cook, who finished with 26 points and eight rebounds on the night. This is the third time in four games that he has scored double-digits this season. Luka Garza also finished with 22 points and six rebounds.
There’s little denying the significance of this one for Iowa. The team is now 4-0 and has two quality non-conference wins to hang its hat on going forward. And with just one non-con game coming away from home (vs Northern Iowa) the rest of the year, there’s a reasonable chance that Iowa could go undefeated in non-conference play.
Quite a swing, huh?
-Maryland Terrapins 80, Hofstra Pride 69
The Terps continued the team’s slate of home games to open this season with a matchup against Hofstra at home on Friday night. While Maryland was a significant favorite, this one was actually more intriguing than many may have realized. Hofstra did enter the game as a top 150ish opponent and was hoping to pull off the upset.
However, Maryland took control with Bruno Fernando leading the way. He finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. The Terps will now move on to face Mount St. Mary’s at home on Sunday and will hope to improve to 5-0 on the year.
By any traditional measure, this was the Big Ten’s least intriguing game on Friday night. And it largely lived up to that billing, with Northwestern taking control early on. The Wildcats were led by Vic Law, who finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Northwestern will now move on to face Fresno State in California on Thursday.
-Purdue Boilermakers 79, Davidson Wildcats 58
Friday night was just the latest edition of the Carsen Edwards Experience, as the junior guard dominated with 29 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Things were relatively competitive through the first half, but Purdue pulled away in the second and got its second win over a top 110 team this season.
Purdue will now prepare for a showdown with Virginia Tech on Sunday in what should be a thrilling matchup. Both teams are in the top 25 on KenPom. It’s a great opportunity for the Boilermakers to add a marquee non-con win.
-St. John’s Red Storm 84, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 65
The lone loss on the night for the Big Ten came from Rutgers, who fell at home by 19 points to St. John’s to close out the Gavitt Games. It was a disappointing performance for fans who hoped that this Scarlet Knight squad had taken a substantial step forward.
While the team’s defense left plenty to be desired, Rutgers just didn’t get enough from its star players on Friday night. Geo Baker only scored seven points and Shaquille Doorson only finished with six points as well. The Scarlet Knights need to find a way to add more on the offensive end if the team hopes to take down many of its upcoming opponents.
However, one thing that does need to be mentioned is the fact that Rutgers was a solid underdog heading into this game. St. John’s is a top 40 team on KenPom and the Scarlet Knights are now down to 133rd. That isn’t an excuse for losing, but should be mentioned. Simply put, the result wasn’t exactly a massive surprise.
Rutgers will return to action on Monday with a home matchup against Eastern Michigan. The early spread for that game is only three points, so it could be an interesting battle.