2The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Saturday featuring a top 15 matchup and two other ranked teams in action. Rutgers hosted Iowa in the early game, Purdue traveled to face Illinois after that, and Nebraska hosted Michigan State in the late game.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes 77, No. 14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 75
What a game. Not every game lives up to the hype, but this one did. Iowa and Rutgers met as ranked teams and Saturday’s matchup was an absolute battle between the two. The game went back and forth with some great play on both sides before Iowa pulled it out in the closing minutes. Luka Garza led the way for Iowa with 25 points and Jacob Young played well for the Scarlet Knights, finishing with 17 points and four assists.
For Iowa, the win pushed the team to 9-2 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play. This was probably Iowa’s best win of the season and really cements the team’s status as a conference title contender. This ties the program’s best start through 11 games since the 2013-’14 season. Iowa will return to action on Thursday on the road against Maryland.
On the other side, Rutgers dropped to 7-2 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play. However, the team acquitted itself really well on Saturday and remains in good position moving forward. Fans will have to hope Rutgers can just get healthier moving forward. Cliff Omoruyi is still sidelined and the team played with multiple players at less than 100 percent. The Scarlet Knights will return to action on Tuesday on the road against Michigan State.
-No. 15 Illinois Fighting Illini 66, Purdue Boilermakers 58
This game had a few dramatic swings in it. Illinois got up big early, but Purdue then came roaring back with a huge 19-0 run to open the second half. Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, the wheels fell off there and Illinois was able to come back and secure a solid 66-58 win at home. Da’Monte Williams led the way with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The win pushed Illinois to 8-3 overall and 4-1 in Big Ten play. Illinois is now just a game out of first in the Big Ten standings and appears to be a real contender for the conference crown. We’ll have to see how the bench continues to perform and what the team does on Thursday when it travels to Northwestern.
Purdue dropped to 7-5 overall and 2-3 with the loss and has now dropped three of its last four games. The Boilermakers seem like a solid-to-good team, but its Big Ten slate has just been absolutely brutal. Purdue will try and rebound on Tuesday when the team hosts Nebraska. This figures to be the team’s “easiest” remaining regular season game.
-No. 17 Michigan State Spartans 84, Nebraska Cornhuskers 77
After an 0-3 start to Big Ten play, Spartan fans were getting a bit uneasy about how things were trending in East Lansing. Fortunately for those fans, Michigan State avoided an 0-4 start with a nice road win over Nebraska on Saturday. The win pushed the Spartans to 7-3 overall and 1-3 in league play. The Huskers fell to 4-7 with the loss.
Michigan State will hope to keep the positivity going with Rutgers at home on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Nebraska will hope to score its first Big Ten win of the season at Purdue on Tuesday.