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11/29 Big Ten Recap: Michigan Survives

Recap all the Big Ten action from Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: Oakland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten had four games on Sunday and a few ended up going down to the final minutes, including an overtime battle between Michigan and Oakland. Fortunately, the Big Ten ended up going 4-0 in the day’s matchups, with each win coming by double-digits.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Night:

-No. 25 Michigan Wolverines 81, Oakland Golden Grizzlies 71 (OT)

Talk about a drama filled evening. Michigan entered this game as substantial favorites over the Grizzlies. However, Oakland’s zone defense gave the Wolverines trouble all night, leading to one of Michigan’s least efficient offensive outings in quite some time. The game eventually went to overtime before Michigan escaped with the win.

The real change in this one came in the second half when Juwan Howard inserted freshman center Hunter Dickinson into the lineup and began feeding the post. Dickinson ended up finishing with 19 points, four rebounds, and four assists in 25 minutes. Isaiah Livers also finished with a good stat line of 22 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

This is one of those games where some of it feels like a warning sign of things to come while other issues make me think it’s a fluke. The most important task for Howard in the coming days will be shortening up the bench. It’s fine to go 10 players deep against bad teams, but it’s another to think you can do that against elite competition. Michigan needs to find the guys it wants to ride with when things get tough. And after Sunday, it seems like Dickinson and Williams are going to be in that group.

Moving forward, Michigan will get a few days off before facing Ball State at home on Wednesday. Like Bowling Green and Oakland, Ball State is better than your average body bag game. Michigan is going to have to work to beat the Cardinals.

The Rest:

-Maryland Terrapins 79, Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers 61

This one looked like it might be a sleeper, but Maryland had other ideas. The Terps took control in the first half and never looked back. Eric Ayala had another nice game, finishing with 15 points, two assists, and two rebounds. The Terps will now be off until Tuesday, when the team faces Towson at home.

-No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes 74, UMass Lowell River Hawks 64

While most thought this would be a convincing win for Ohio State heading in, things were relatively competitive in this one. The Buckeyes ended up pulling it out in the final minutes, but Ohio State only led by a 65-63 margin with 1:48 remaining. Ohio State had trouble for much of the day contianing Allin Blunt and couldn’t get enough offense going to pull away. Duane Washington led things with 21 points and three rebounds.

Nonetheless, Ohio State improved to 2-0 on the season with the win and will now prepare for a game against Morehead State at home on Wednesday. Fans will hope Sunday isn’t a sign of things to come and the team will bounce back.

-No. 24 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 70, Hofstra Pride 56

Hofstra did enough in this one to keep it competitive, but the game was really never in doubt. Rutgers played stifling defense all night and held Hofstra to a putrid 0.75 points per possession. Jacob Young also had a big game with 17 points and three rebounds.

In an odd twist, Rutgers now has a week off before it plays again. Perhaps that will change with a late rescheduling, but the team’s next game (as of now) is the team’s home matchup against Syracuse on December 8th. Should be a fun one.