The Big Ten only had two games on Saturday, but both set up interesting matchups. Purdue hosted Indiana State in the early game looking to bounce back and Illinois went on the road to face rival Missouri in the late game.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Missouri Tigers 81, No. 6 Illinois Fighting Illini 78
After scoring a massive win on the road against Duke on Tuesday, Illini fans were hoping this would be the culmination of a great week. Unfortunately, it would end up being a nightmare. Illinois got down in the first half and was unable to overcome the deficit as the team’s comeback effort fell short. Ayo Dosunmu finished with an incredible 36 points and five rebounds in the loss.
For Illinois, this is a tough one. The team still sits at 4-2 after the loss, but being upset by a rival is never easy to stomach. And when it comes by just a few points, it’s even harder. Illinois had a chance to win it at the end, but Dosunmu’s three missed its mark. Fans will hope this loss doesn’t come back to haunt the program in March.
Illinois also continues to have a really bizarre resume. The Illini have enough to make you think they could make the Final Four, but enough underwhelming runs to make you concerned about an early upset in March. A lot will depend on how the bench progresses in the months ahead.
On the court, the biggest issue was the team’s underwhelming defense. Dru Smith finished with 18 points and the Tigers scored 1.07 points per possession. That will be the area where the Illini hope to improve. Moving forward, Illinois will hope to bounce back in the team’s Big Ten opener on Tuesday at home against Minnesota.
-Purdue Boilermakers 80, Indiana State Sycamores 68
The Boilermakers arguably had the most disappointing performance for any Big Ten team in this year’s Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Purdue blew a winnable game against Miami (FL) on Tuesday night, leading many to think this could be another frustrating season. With that mindset, Purdue entered Saturday’s game against a decent Indiana State squad.
Fortunately, Purdue got the job done. While things were a big uncomfortable in the final minutes, the Boilermakers remained in control. Trevion Williams had quite a performance with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Purdue is now 4-2 overall and will prepare for the team’s Big Ten opener next Wednesday at home against Ohio State.