The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Sunday, as the league restarted conference play. Michigan State went on the road to face Northwestern, Penn State hosted Indiana, and Ohio State and Nebraska tangled in a late night showdown.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes 87, Nebraska Cornhuskers 79 (OT)
After nearly a month off, Ohio State finally returned to action on Sunday. Unfortunately for Buckeye fans, the game was a lot closer than fans might have hoped. Nebraska came out firing and put significant pressure on Ohio State all night. The game eventually went to overtime after Nebraska couldn’t hit some free throws, where Ohio State grabbed an 87-79 win thanks to some stellar play from EJ Liddell.
Ohio State improved to 9-2 overall and 3-0 in Big Ten play with the win. The Buckeyes have now won five straight, including a game against Duke and two conference road games. And even though this one was close, fans have to be happy the team avoided a loss, especially after nearly a month off. It seems likely the team had some rust. If those issues get corrected, Ohio State should be in the Big Ten title race.
On the other side, Nebraska fell to 6-8 overall and 0-3 in Big Ten play with the loss. It’s yet another game where the Huskers blew a great opportunity at a win. This is at least the fifth game against a quality opponent already this season where Nebraska has shown promise, only to fall short when it mattered most. The close finishes should give some encouragement, but it’s hard to feel great after so many tough losses.
Both teams will return to action later this week. Ohio State will go on the road on Thursday to face Indiana while Nebraska will face Michigan State on the road on Wednesday.
-No. 10 Michigan State Spartans 73, Northwestern Wildcats 67
This was another game where the favorite ended up winning, but things were much closer than fans might have liked. Northwestern played admirably in the loss, leading for large segments of the game and putting a lot of pressure on Michigan State’s offense. However, the Spartans toughed it out and got 25 points from Gabe Brown, including a massive three in the closing minutes.
Michigan State improved to 12-2 overall and 3-0 in Big Ten play with the win, while Northwestern fell to 8-3 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Spartans will return to action with Nebraska at home on Wednesday and Wildcats will get Penn State at home on Wednesday. Both are favored to win.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 61, Indiana Hoosiers 58
Like Ohio State above, Penn State also returned after nearly a month off related to a COVID-19 pause. And like the Buckeyes, Penn State came out with a win, upsetting Indiana in a game many thought the Hoosiers would win comfortably. Myles Dread led the way with 12 points. It was a crushing defeat for Indiana
Penn State improved to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in Big Ten play with the win, while Indiana fell to 10-3 overall and 1-2 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Nittany Lions will return to action on Wednesday on the road against Northwestern and the Hoosiers will hope to bounce back against Ohio State at home on Thursday.