The 2021 Gavitt Games concluded on Thursday night with marquee matchups for Ohio State and Rutgers. Three other Big Ten teams were also in action, including a Penn State team trying to rebound from a loss.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Xavier Musketeers 71, No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes 65
Despite a 3-0 start to the season, few felt confident about the Buckeyes coming into this one. Ohio State needed a buzzer beater to avoid an upset loss against Akron and the team’s backcourt had struggled to find consistency. It would take quite an effort to take that group and go on the road and beat one of the best programs in the Big East.
All told, Ohio State actually did alright. The team showed some serious fight and EJ Liddell once again showed why he’s a star, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds. Unfortunately for Buckeye fans, though, it wouldn’t be enough as the team fell short.
The loss here shouldn’t be an indictment on Ohio State moving forward. The team is still figuring out its rotations and playmakers and should improve significantly in the months ahead. This still looks like an NCAA squad, it’s just had some bumps and bruises along the way. The team will try and rebound against Seton Hall on Monday.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 108, Alabama State Hornets 82
For the fourth time this season, Iowa hosted an overmatched opponent at home and cruised to an easy win. The Hawkeyes were never challenged and Keegan Murray finished with 26 points and six rebounds. Iowa will get another tuneup game next Monday at home against Western Michigan.
-Northwestern Wildcats 82, Fairleigh Dickinson Knights 46
There wasn’t much to take away from this one, either. Northwestern cruised to a massive victory thanks in large part to 19 points and 11 rebounds from Pete Nance. The Wildcats are now 4-0, though all the wins have come against underwhelming opponents. Northwestern will get Providence next Monday for its first real test of the season.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 74, St. Francis (NY) Terriers 59
After falling on the road to UMass earlier this week, Penn State used Thursday as a chance to get back on track. The Nittany Lions were able to control this one throughout and eventually grabbed a 74-59 win. Sam Sessoms led the way with 26 points.
Penn State now sits at 2-1 overall and will prepare for Cornell at home next Monday. The Nittany Lions should be favored in that one.
-DePaul Blue Demons 73, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 70
After Rutgers stunk things up for the team’s first three games, nobody was quite sure what to expect out of the team in this one. DePaul projected as a decent opponent and would put a struggling Scarlet Knight squad to the test. Unfortunately for fans, Rutgers ended up falling short, though the game was pretty competitive.
Rutgers’ biggest issue remains the team’s spotty offensive performances. The team actually finished with 1.09 points per possession against DePaul, which isn’t terrible, but the production was limited to just a few players and DePaul’s defense isn’t exactly otherworldly. We’ll see if the team can build on that moving forward. That will start with Lafayette at home on Monday.