Saturday’s slate was a loaded one for the Big Ten. Not only did fans get to see perhaps the biggest game of the season with Purdue traveling to face Michigan State, but they also got to watch Maryland and Nebraska fight for NCAA Tournament contention and Ohio State try to move into first place in the Big Ten standings.
Let’s take a look at how the games played out.
Game of the Night:
What can be said about this one. It was an instant classic in East Lansing. Both teams entered the game ranked among the top five and the game absolutely lived up to the hype. Things went back and forth and were, ultimately, decided by a late bucket from Spartan star forward Miles Bridges.
Generally speaking, Bridges carried Michigan State for much of the afternoon. He finished with 20 points, three rebounds, and one assist in the afternoon, but hit tough shot after tough shot. Many had him tabbed as the Big Ten Player of the Year coming into the season and he looked the part on Saturday.
For Purdue, the team simply couldn’t get the stops it needed on defense. Michigan State shot 54.8 percent from two-point range and finished with 21 assists in the game. Additionally, Purdue didn’t light it up from deep as the team has done many times this season. It was the team’s second straight loss and fourth of the season.
Both teams will now move into the final stretch of the regular season fighting for the Big Ten title and seeding in the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue will go on the road to face Wisconsin next Thursday and Michigan State will travel to face Minnesota on Tuesday.
After suffering a tough loss on the road to Penn State earlier this week, Maryland desperately needed this game to stay in good shape for NCAA Tournament contention. Losing to an underwhelming Northwestern team at home would have been disastrous for the team’s postseason hopes.
Thanks to 22 points from Kevin Huerter, Maryland was able to get things done and grab a 73-57 win over the Wildcats at home. On the other side, Northwestern struggled to get its offense going and finished with 0.92 points per possession.
Maryland will now go on the road on Tuesday to face Nebraska. Meanwhile, Northwestern will go on the road on Tuesday to face Rutgers.
The Huskers were another team that needed to take care of business at home on Saturday against an underwhelming opponent. Ultimately, Nebraska was able to open things up and move past a flawed and depleted Rutgers team on Saturday.
Nebraska will now host Maryland at home on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Rutgers will host Northwestern at home on Tuesday looking for another league win.
-Ohio State Buckeyes 82, Iowa Hawkeyes 64
This was a game that slipped under the radar nationally, but was an important game in the Big Ten title race. After Ohio State’s win over Purdue earlier this week, this was an opportunity to move into first in the league standings. Ultimately, Ohio State got the job done and grabbed an 82-64 win at home.
While Iowa actually led early in this one, Ohio State took control before halftime and never looked back. Kaleb Wesson carried the Buckeyes with 18 points and seven rebounds and Keita Bates-Diop had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Ohio State now leads the Big Ten and will go on the road to face Penn State next Thursday. Meanwhile, Iowa will travel to face Michigan on Valentine’s Day.