It was a light night for the Big Ten as three programs took on mid-majors in a rather uneventful night. Lets see how things went down this Thursday.
Game of the Night
Iowa Hawkeyes 77, UMKC Kangaroos 63
The “Game of the Night” term is used loosely here, as Iowa’s game gets the honors simply because it was the closest game. While the Hawkeyes ended up with a 14 point win, it was still a single digit lead with less than six minutes to go before a 11-3 run helped seal the deal.
Leading Iowa in scoring was freshman Joe Wieskamp with 15 points while Tyler Cook impressed with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks. Iowa was capable of converting at line, making 73.7% of their 38 free throws, while holding the Roos to 35.9% from the field.
The big difference tonight was Iowa’s ability to get to the line as Iowa drew 27 fouls and shot 38 free throws compared to UMKC only shooting 12 free throws. With UMKC actually making two more field goals (and two more three pointers), free throws became the main difference in the game.
The Illini got off to a quick start over Evansville, taking a 53-22 lead into the break. Not much changed during the second half on their way to an easy 99-60 win in their season opener as Illinois tries to get things turned around after a massive amount of turnover from the 2017-18 season.
Leading the way for Illinois in scoring was Aaron Jordan with 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 8 from three. Five other players reached double figures for the Illini while forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili added 7 points and 10 rebounds. While the Illini were able to shoot 56.3% from the field and force 24 turnovers, they were only able to hit 50% of their free throws.
While it took awhile for the Wildcats to get things rolling, Northwestern was able to pick up a win in their first game at the newly remodeled Welsh-Ryan Arena (excluding their exhibition win over McKendree). After only holding a nine point lead with less than 11 minutes to go, the Wildcats went on a 12-2 run to open things up and never looked back on their way to a 82-52 victory.
Ryan Taylor led the Wildcats in scoring with 20 points while Dererk Pardon added a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Vic Law surpassed 1,000 career points during the game, making him the 36th player to do so in Northwestern school history.
Northwestern struggled at times from the field, hitting 41.7% of their field goals and going 11 of 30 from three. But they took advantage of their free throws, converting on 21 of their 26 attempts. The Privateers couldn’t do the same, hitting 10 of their 22 free throws while shooting 20% from three and committing 15 turnovers.