The Big Ten had three games on Monday night, highlighted by the first two matchups in the annual Gavitt Games. Minnesota and Penn State were participating in the event while Illinois hosted Monmouth at home.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Penn State Nittany Lions 68, Butler Bulldogs 62
The Nittany Lions (somewhat surprisingly) entered this game as sizable favorites over the Bulldogs, hoping to improve the team’s record to a perfect 3-0 on the season. It was Penn State’s first major challenge of the season and most were interested in seeing how the team would hold up against stiffer competition.
Fortunately for Penn State fans, the results were encouraging.
While Butler kept things tight, Penn State was able to maintain control for most of the evening and came away with a solid win. Jalen Pickett led the way with 15 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in one of the more impressive triple-doubles you’ll ever see. Andrew Funk also finished with 11 points on the night.
The win pushed Penn State to 3-0 heading into this week’s tournament, which will begin on Thursday with a matchup against Furman. If the Nittany Lions can grab multiple wins in the tournament, it would go a long way toward a postseason appearance and potentially even some serious top 25 consideration.
-No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini 103, Monmouth Hawks 65
This was a complete blowout from start to finish. Illinois came out roaring and never looked back, thanks in large part to 30 points from Terrence Shannon. Jayden Epps also finished with 21 points off the bench en route to the win. Illinois will now prepare for a trip to Vegas and a game against UCLA on Friday. It figures to be a major challenge for Illinois.
-DePaul Blue Demons 69, Minnesota Golden Gophers 53
The Gophers narrowly escaped the first week of the season unblemished, but that same luck didn’t hold up against tougher competition as the team fell to DePaul. The Demons jumped out to a sizable first half lead and Minnesota could just never overcome it, even despite a frantic run with about 10 minutes left in the game. The team’s offensive production was particularly underwhelming, as the Gophers finished with just 0.84 points per possession and three of the starters combined for just six points in 62 minutes.
Minnesota dropped to 2-1 with the loss and will get a few days off to lick its wounds before returning to action against Central Michigan at home on Thursday night. The Gophers will continue to hope Jamison Battle can return from injury.