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2/12 Big Ten Recap: Penn State Upsets Michigan

The Nittany Lions finally got a massive upset and kept things tied atop the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Penn State Linsey Fagan-USA TODAY Sports

There were three Big Ten games with all of the conference’s top teams in action. Lets see what happened on Tuesday night.

Game of the Night

Penn State Nittany Lions 75, #6 Michigan Wolverines 69

With a chance to take sole control of the conference, Michigan fell on the road to a 2-11 Penn State program.

The Wolverines had a rough close to the first half, with Penn State going on a 9-2 run to close the half and Michigan head coach John Beilein getting ejected right before the break after getting hit with a double technical.

The double tech resulted in four free throws to start the second half, allowing Penn State to add three points before Michigan got the ball in the second. The Nittany Lions quickly pushed the lead to 15 with a 50-35 lead before Michigan went on a 12-2 lead to cut the gap to five points. Penn State was able to keep Michigan at a bay during a number of comeback attempts, eventually opening up a 12 point lead with 1:27.

While it looked like Penn State was going to close the game with relative ease, Penn State’s inability to consistently make their free throws allowed the Wolverines to roar back. A key turnover by Zavier Simpson proved costly and Michigan missed a three pointer that would have cut the deficit to two with nine seconds remaining. Lamar Stevens made another free throw and Penn State pulled off the massive upset with a 75-69 win.

It was a big night for Stevens, who had 26 points and 12 rebounds. Penn State out rebounded Michigan 35-25 and was able to do enough offensively to take care of the Wolverines. Michigan didn’t have a bad night offensively, shooting 51% from the field, though Ignas Brazdeikis only had six points and was limited to 17 minutes with four fouls. Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole had big nights, scoring 41 points on 15 of 27 shooting, but no one else on the team reached double digits.

Free throws ultimately proved to be the difference maker, with Penn State holding a 34-16 advantage in free throw attempts. To be fair, about half of those free throws came in the closing minutes, but foul problems for Brazdeikis proved costly for the Wolverines, especially without their coach in the second half.

The loss keeps Michigan tied with the Spartans, a half game ahead of Purdue and one game ahead of Maryland. Things are going to get interesting in a hurry for the Wolverines as they still have two games against Michigan State and two games against Maryland remaining, with a home game against the Terps up next. Penn State will look to build off of their second conference win this weekend with a road trip to West Lafayette to face the Boilermakers.

The Rest

#11 Michigan State Spartans 67, #20 Wisconsin Badgers 59

Michigan State traveled to Madison and was able to pick up a huge win to get back on top of the conference with Michigan and maintain a two game lead over the Badgers.

In what was a back and forth game throughout the night, Ethan Happ made a jumper with 6:04 remaining to put the deficit back to one point. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, though, they wouldn’t make another shot until a Brad Davison three pointer with 13 seconds remaining. Michigan State was able to go on an 8-0 run over five minutes, building a 65-56 lead with 15 seconds that would seal the deal.

It was a frustrating close for Wisconsin as they kept pace with the Spartans the entire night and could have pulled the upset off at home if not for an ice cold finish. Ethan Happ had another solid outing, recording 20 points and 12 rebounds, though he did commit six turnovers. The rest of the team struggled to help Happ out, though, and Wisconsin also shot 30% from three and 41.7% from the line (Happ went 0 for 6 from the line, not helping matters).

The Spartans got a big performance from Cassius Winston who had 23 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. The Spartans shot 43.9% from the field, similar to the Badgers 42.9%, but also shot 40.9% from three and converted from the free throw line.

The win has Michigan State tied for first and Wisconsin two games out of first place. The Spartans still have two games against Michigan remaining, though they’ll host Ohio State and Rutgers next. The Badgers will have an easier task next when they host Illinois, followed by road games against Northwestern and Indiana.

#24 Maryland Terrapins 70, #12 Purdue Boilermakers 56

For one half it looked like Purdue was about to pick up a huge win on the road against a ranked Maryland squad. It wasn’t always pretty, but Carsen Edwards had 17 points and Ryan Cline was 3 of 3 from three, allowing Purdue to enter the break with an eight point lead. Then the second half happened, with the Boilermakers shooting 16.7% from the field and 1 of 16 from three.

When everything was said and done Purdue just couldn’t make any shots down the stretch, being held to 18 points in the second half. Carsen Edwards had a particularly rough day, going 8 of 27 from the field and 3 of 13 from deep. Purdue only committed four turnovers and added 17 offensive rebounds, but ended up shooting 28.2% from the field. The bench was held to 3 of 18 shooting, with Aaron Wheeler and Matt Haarms going ice cold, while Trevion Williams only played 10 minutes due to foul trouble.

Maryland kept the game close throughout the night and once Purdue went cold was able to take the lead and not look back. Bruno Fernando had a strong night with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Jalen Smith led the Terps with 16 points. Maryland struggled from three, but was able to get the ball inside and score with relative ease, recording 36 of their 70 points in the paint. In a relatively remarkable statistic, Maryland shot 12 of 13 from the inside the arc in the second half.

Tonight’s result keeps the top of the Big Ten a log jam, with Michigan State and Michigan tied at 11-3 and Purdue a half game behind (they’ve played one less game), while still holding a half game lead over Maryland. Purdue by far has the easiest remaining schedule as they host Penn State, Illinois, Ohio State and have road games against Indiana, Nebraska, Minnesota and Northwestern. As for Maryland, they travel to Ann Arbor this weekend and will have to face the Wolverines twice, as well as a road trip to Iowa next Tuesday night.