The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Sunday, featuring three marquee non-conference matchups and a few buy games at home. The conference went 4-1 on the day.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 82, North Carolina State Wolfpack 72 (OT)
Obviously, this one ended up going down to the wire. North Carolina State controlled the early portions of the game, but Purdue came roaring back in the closing minutes, forced overtime, and then scored the win in the extra session.
Let’s be honest about this. The early struggles for Purdue in this one really felt like a hangover from Thursday night’s loss to Rutgers. Overcoming a loss like that isn’t easy and you could see that on Sunday. Purdue seemed lackluster and out of it for awhile. However, the team did come back and win the game, which is a statement about Purdue’s resiliency.
With the win, Purdue improved to 9-1 overall. The Boilermakers will now return home and get nearly a week off before heading to the Crossroads Classic to face Butler. It’s the team last remaining non-conference challenge of the regular season.
-Indiana Hoosiers 81, Merrimack Warriors 49
The Hoosiers cruised to an easy win in this one, beating an overmatched Merrimack team by 32 points at home. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds. Indiana improved to 8-2 overall with the win and will now prepare for a game against Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic on Saturday.
-Maryland Terrapins 70, No. 20 Florida Gators 68
This was easily the most baffling result of the day. Despite losing three straight and its head coach over the last few weeks, Maryland pulled off an upset against a ranked Florida team on Sunday afternoon. Eric Ayala was superb in the outing, finishing with 19 points and five rebounds. Fatts Russell also finished with 19 points against the Gators.
Maryland improved to 6-4 overall with the win, but it felt like so much more than just a win. It turned the page on a really rough period in Maryland history. Maybe it’s hyperbolic, but it feels like the team can finally move on from Mark Turgeon’s departure after knocking off the Gators. The Terps will now get more than a week off before facing Loyola (Maryland) at home on the 28th.
-Northwestern Wildcats 70, NJIT Highlanders 52
The Wildcats scored an easy win in this one thanks in large part to 13 points from Ryan Young off the bench. The win pushed Northwestern to 7-2 overall heading into a matchup against DePaul at home next Saturday. It figures to be the team’s last non-conference test of the season.
-No. 23 Seton Hall Pirates 77, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 63
After Thursday’s shocking win over Purdue, Scarlet Knight fans were hoping Rutgers could continue its magic on Sunday against Seton Hall. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the case as the Pirates controlled the game from tip and scored a 14-point win. Rutgers’ offense simply couldn’t do enough to get the win, as the Scarlet Knights finished with just 0.86 points per possession. On the positive side, Geo Baker finally made his return from injury.
Rutgers now sits at 5-5 overall with the loss. The Scarlet Knights will return to action on Saturday at home against Rider.