The Big Ten had two games on Wednesday night and both looked fantastic. Penn State and Rutgers faced off in what might have been an NCAA qualifier for the Scarlet Knights and Maryland went on the road to battle a feisty Minnesota squad.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 16 Penn State Nittany Lions 65, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 64
Talk about a swing of emotions in this one. Penn State dominated the first half, Rutgers came roaring back in the second half, and it ended up coming down to the final seconds. There were two 14-2 runs and a 15-2 run during the game. All told, Penn State did just enough to escape with a 65-64 win at home.
Penn State improved to 21-7 overall and 12-6 in Big Ten play with the win. The Nittany Lions are now tied for second in the Big Ten standings and have more than a fair shot at a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Obviously, that’s something that would have been pretty surprising to say even a few months ago. The team will return to action on Saturday on the road against Iowa.
For Rutgers, this is going to be a tough one to stomach. The Scarlet Knights are now 18-11 overall and likely remain one win away from securing an NCAA Tournament bid. Fans had to know making the Big Dance wouldn’t be easy, but locking things up has been tougher than many assumed after starting the season at 16-5 overall. The team now just has two regular season games remaining, starting with Maryland at home next Tuesday. It’s not a “must win” for the Scarlet Knights, but it seems close.
-No. 9 Maryland Terrapins 74, Minnesota Golden Gophers 73
The late game of the day had quite a few similarities with the early matchup. Minnesota got up big in the first half, but faded late. However, unlike the game described above, the Gophers didn’t have quite enough to stop the comeback. Maryland ended up scoring a narrow 74-73 victory in the final seconds of the game.
The win pushed Maryland to 23-5 overall, 13-4 in conference play, and two games up in the Big Ten regular season standings. The Terps now just need to win one more game to secure at least a share of the Big Ten title. Two wins, or some help, would lock up an outright crown. Fans will hope Maryland can get the job done on Saturday at home against Michigan State. Meanwhile, Minnesota will hope to get back on track on Sunday on the road against arch-rival Wisconsin. It should be a tough one.