The Big Ten had five games on Sunday, including the first league game of the season between Michigan and Penn State. All told, every Big Ten team ended up winning, with the exception of the conference game described above.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Michigan Wolverines 62, Penn State Nittany Lions 58
Conference play started off with a bang on Sunday with a really interesting matchup between Michigan and Penn State. Both teams were coming off solid wins earlier in the week and the game projected to be pretty competitive. And of course, that’s what ended up happening. Michigan got up big in the first half, but Penn State clawed back and things were basically deadlocked during the second half before the Wolverines pulled away.
The biggest difference maker in the game (yet again for Michigan) was freshman star Hunter Dickinson. He finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, and an assist en route to victory. Eli Brooks also had 12 points and four rebounds as well. Michigan’s defense also played really well, holding Penn State to 0.87 points per possession.
On the other side, this is a tough one for Penn State. The team played admirably, but just didn’t have quite enough to come out with a win. And in a season when Penn State is going to play against an absolutely brutal Big Ten slate, a win is even more valuable than usual. Letting one slip away in the final moments is going to sting.
With the win, Michigan improved to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in league play. Meanwhile, Penn State fell to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play. Michigan will now be off until Christmas Day, when the team goes on the road to face Nebraska. Penn State will be off until December 23rd, when the team faces Illinois at home.
-Indiana Hoosiers 87, North Alabama Lions 52
Like Iowa’s game described above, this one was over pretty early. Indiana steamrolled the Lions in the first half and were able to unload the bench in the second half. Armaan Franklin led the way with 19 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Khristian Lander also played 17 minutes and finished with 10 points. Indiana is now 4-2 overall and primed for a showdown with Butler in the Crossroads Classic next Saturday.
-No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes 106, Northern Illinois Huskies 53
As the score indicates, this wasn’t exactly a great game. Iowa got up double-digits in the first few minutes and things only got worse from there. Luka Garza finished with 23 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes in the win. Iowa improved to 6-0 with the victory and will now prepare for a massive showdown against Gonzaga on a neutral court on Saturday.
-No. 4 Michigan State Spartans 109, Oakland Golden Grizzlies 91
Another in-state opponent and another solid win for the Spartans. Oakland hung around a bit longer than some Spartan fans would have liked, but the team was eventually able to grab an 18-point win. As a result, Michigan State now sits at 6-0 overall heading into conference play. The Spartans will open things up next Sunday on the road against Northwestern.
-No. 22 Ohio State Buckeyes 67, Cleveland State Vikings 61
This one was a bit scary at times. While Ohio State entered as a significant favorite, things ended up going down to the final minutes. The Buckeyes struggled to get things going offensively and converted a pedestrian 28.6 percent from three-point range. The team deserves some slack as EJ Liddell was out with an illness, but things were still ugly against a pretty underwhelming Cleveland State team. That alone is cause for concern.
But regardless of whether things were pretty, Ohio State now sits at 5-0 with Big Ten play starting this week. Unfortunately, the mistakes made against the Vikings can’t carry over against conference opponents or things could get ugly. The Buckeyes are back in action on Wednesday on the road against Purdue.
-SIU Edwardsville Cougars at Northwestern Wildcats
This one was supposed to go on Sunday morning, but got cancelled hours before tip.