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11/19 Big Ten Recap: Illinois Falls Short Against Gonzaga

Recap the Big Ten’s action from Monday night, including a tight loss for the Illini.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Illinois Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten had three games on Monday night, including a major matchup in Maui between Illinois and Gonzaga. It was a great night of action to start off Thanksgiving week and should be a sign of things to come for the league in the days to come.

Here’s a look at what happened on Monday.

Game of the Day:

-Gonzaga Bulldogs 84, Illinois Fighting Illini 78

Illinois tipped off in Maui on Monday night and got faced with a major challenge in Gonzaga. The odds heavily favored the Bulldogs heading into the matchup, but Illini fans were hoping an unusual environment could help Illinois.

Generally speaking, it was a pretty competitive game. Gonzaga was in control throughout, but the first half was competitive and the Illini made some runs in the second half. Trent Frazier really stood out with 29 points and Giorgi Bezhanishvili had 17 points and six rebounds. All told, Illinois fell shot by a 84-78 margin.

The challenge for Illinois will be to bounce back. The team will get Iowa State on Tuesday night and can’t afford to drop to 1-3 on the year with a loss to the Cyclones. Illinois has shown some encouraging signs so far, but still needs to find a way to cash in on its opportunities. Moral victories are only going to go so far.

The Rest:

-Nebraska Cornhuskers 85, Missouri State Bears 62

The Huskers opened up play in the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City and faced off against the Bears on Monday night. This figured to be an easy opening round matchup before Nebraska would face more challenging opponents. But things ended up being a little closer than fans would have liked for large segments of the game. At halftime, Nebraska only held a 36-29 lead over a team well outside the top 150 on KenPom.

Nonetheless, Nebraska did end up winning by 23 points when all was said and done. Isaac Copeland finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, and four assists and Glynn Watson added 16 points of his own.

The Huskers will now face a really good Texas Tech team on Tuesday night as the team looks for its first top 50 win away from home since January of 2017 and its first top 25 win away from home since January of 2016. It’s been a long time coming.

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 63, Eastern Michigan Eagles 36

By virtually all measures, this matchup looks pretty underwhelming on paper. Both teams entered the game well outside the top 100 on KenPom and Rutgers was coming off a tough loss to St. John’s at home on Friday night. And generally speaking, that’s exactly what happened. Rutgers took care of a MAC opponent at home and improved to 3-1.

However, how it happened was pretty incredible.

Not only did Rutgers end up winning by 27 points, but the Scarlet Knights held Eastern Michigan to four (!!!) points in the first half. And in doing so, Rutgers tied a modern NCAA record. It was an incredible defensive effort by the Scarlet Knights and a display of ineptitude from the Eagles. Either way, it was a pretty incredible sight to behold.

Rutgers will now move on to face Boston University at home on Friday.