The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Tuesday. It marked the first day of the 2020 Big Ten-ACC Challenge and six Big Ten teams were in action, including marquee matchups for Illinois and Iowa. It was a fun night of action.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 6 Illinois Fighting Illini 83, No. 10 Duke Blue Devils 68
Anytime a Big Ten team rolls Duke on the road it has to be Game of the Night, right? And that’s exactly what Illinois did on Tuesday. The Illini went into Cameron and throughly dominated Duke. Ayo Dosunmu led the way with 18 points and 12 rebounds and the Blue Devils likewise had no answer for Illinois’ big men, letting Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Kofi Cockburn go off for a combined 24 points on the night.
Obviously, this is a seismic win for Illinois. It pushed the team to 4-1 overall, but Illinois broke through an emotional and mental barrier on Tuesday. It’s been quite some time since the Illini went on the road and beat a team and program like this. Some wins count for more and this is certainly one of them.
Illinois will now get a few days off before getting back into action on Saturday on the road against Missouri. A win there and Illinois will have established itself as a top five unit. And with the team’s postseason goals, beating the Tigers will be important for securing a top seed in March. Expect another fun outing.
-No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes 93, No. 16 North Carolina Tar Heels 80
This would have been Game of the Night most nights, but it was slightly edged out by Duke. This was a thoroughly entertaining affair where Iowa used its high-powered offense to cruise to a 13-point win over North Carolina. It was Iowa’s best win of the young season by a significant margin. Joe Wieskamp led the way with 19 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this win was how much of a team effort it was. Luka Garza had a relatively quiet night (by his standards) with 16 points and 14 rebounds, but the rest of the team stepped up. There was also a great North Carolina run early in the second half and the Hawkeyes responded well, immediately going on a big run to retake the momentum. It’s what a championship level team does.
Iowa will now get two days off before hosting another big game on Friday against arch-rival Iowa State. The Hawkeyes should be significant favorites before tip, but expect a hard fought affair. A win there could set up a massive showdown with Gonzaga in late December.
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 85, Boston College Eagles 80 (OT)
The Gophers probably should have won this game in regulation, but made a few too many mistakes down the stretch, requiring an extra session to put things away. Both Gach led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds. The win pushed Minnesota to 5-0. The team will be in action again on Thursday at home against UMKC.
-No. 22 Ohio State Buckeyes 90, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 85
Although Ohio State didn’t dominate this matchup on Tuesday night, the team was able to overcome a second half deficit to come out with a road win against Notre Dame. EJ Liddell led the way with 19 points and 12 rebounds. The team’s offense was also impressive, finishing with 1.34 points per possession.
Moving forward, Ohio State will host Cleveland State on Sunday before entering conference play. The biggest storyline remains Seth Towns, who has yet to play this season. One would think Ohio State will be substantially more dangerous once he gets on the court.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 75, No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies
After the team’s poor showing on Sunday night against Seton Hall, it was hard to expect too much out of Penn State in this one. After all, the Nittany Lions were facing a top 15 on the road. It wasn’t going to be easy.
However, Penn State made it look easy, jumping out to a massive lead in the first half and never looking back. Izaiah Brockington led the way with 24 points, eight rebounds, and one assist. Myreon Jones also played a solid game with 14 points himself. Ultimately, Penn State was able to unload the bench against a ranked opponent, which is a great spot to be in.
Penn State is now 3-1 overall and will prepare for a road trip to Ann Arbor on Sunday to face Michigan. Both teams have some question marks, so it should be a good game.
-Miami (FL) Hurricanes 58, Purdue Boilermakers 54
If you look up the word collapse in the dictionary, there very well might be a picture of this game and Purdue’s name next to it. The Boilermakers started red hot and jumped out to a dominant lead in the first half before watching it evaporate in the opening minutes of the second. And as the Hurricanes built momentum, Purdue had no answer. Eventually, Miami went on to score a narrow 58-54 win.
Purdue held up pretty well defensively, but simply couldn’t get enough offensively to get the job done. The team finished with 0.82 points per possession. The team also got into some foul trouble as three players exited the game early. Those aren’t things you like to see when you’re trying to go on the road against a quality opponent. Purdue will now get a few days off before facing Indiana State at home on Saturday.
-No. 21 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 79, Syracuse Orange 69
It was an ugly affair, but Rutgers got the job done. The Scarlet Knights used strong defense, 26 points from Ron Harper, and a great rebounding night from Myles Johnson to come out with a win against Syracuse. It was the program’s first win over the Orange in years and pushed the Scarlet Knights to 4-0 overall heading into a matchup against Maryland on the road next Monday night.