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12/17 Big Ten Recap: Tight Losses

Recap all the Big Ten action from Saturday.

Syndication: The Topeka Capital-Journal Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Saturday, highlighted by multiple marquee matchups. The headliners were matchups between Indiana and Kansas and Ohio State and North Carolina. Teams like Purdue and Rutgers also faced notable opponents.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Night:

-North Carolina Tar Heels 89, No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes 84 (OT)

This matchup was part of the CBS Sports Classic and took place in Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon. Fortunately for fans, the game lived up to the billing, as it went down to the wire and needed an extra session to get decided. Unfortunately for Buckeye fans, things didn’t end well for Ohio State as the team fell 89-84 in overtime.

The big story in this one was Ohio State’s underwhelming defense. While the Buckeyes got productive nights from most of the starting lineup, the team couldn’t slow down North Carolina inside the arc and gave up 59.1 percent from two-point range. Armando Bacot also destroyed the Buckeyes, finishing with 28 points and 15 rebounds. Brice Sensabaugh led the way for Ohio State with 22 points and eight rebounds.

The loss dropped the Buckeyes to 7-3 overall heading into the final stretch of non-conference play. The team will return to action on Wednesday at home against Maine and then wrap up play for the year on the 29th against Alabama A&M. Don’t expect either game to be competitive.

The Rest:

-No. 18 Illinois Fighting Illini 68, Alabama A&M Bulldogs 47

This game wasn’t expected to be competitive and fit that billing, as Illinois cruised to a 21-point win over the Bulldogs. Matthew Mayer led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds. Terrence Shannon also had an impressive performance with 18 points. The win pushed Illinois to 8-3 overall heading into an interesting game against Missouri in St. Louis on Thursday night. It’s the team’s last chance to build its non-con resume.

-No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks 84, No. 14 Indiana Hoosiers 62

It’s rare to see blue blood programs tangle in a home-and-home like this, but fans got to enjoy one of them on Saturday as Indiana went on the road to face Kansas. The crowd was electric and fans got to enjoy a really fun matchup. Unfortunately for Hoosier fans, Kansas took control early on and never looked back en route to an 84-62 win as the Hoosiers limped to 0.82 points per possession.

Indiana fell to 8-3 overall with the loss. The team has now lost two straight and three of its last four, dating back to a 15-point road loss against Rutgers earlier this month. The losses have derailed what was shaping up to be a fantastic start to the season in Bloomington, especially since all three have come by double-digits.

It’ll be up to Mike Woodson and company to resolve some of the issues in the coming weeks, or Indiana could be in big trouble with Big Ten play approaching. Fortunately, the team will get a few weeks to recover. That effort will begin on Tuesday at home against an overmatched Elon squad.

-Iowa Hawkeyes 106, Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 75

The Hawkeyes rolled in this one, beating down a terrible Redhawk squad at home by 31 points. Filip Rebraca led the way with 30 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Patrick McCaffery also finished with 20 points. Iowa improved to 8-3 overall with the win and will now prepare for Eastern Illinois at home on Wednesday. Expect another easy win.

-Michigan Wolverines 83, Lipscomb Bison 75

While Michigan escaped this one with a win, it was certainly too close for Wolverine fans’ comfort. The game ended up going own to the final minutes as freshman point guard Dug McDaniel struggled offensively and the team’s defense gave up 1.04 points per possession to an underwhelming Bison squad. Fortunately for Michigan fans, the team found a way to get the job done and escape with an eight-point win.

The win pushed Michigan to 7-3 overall heading into a marquee showdown against North Carolina on Wednesday. It represents Michigan’s last chance to get a marquee non-conference win this season. Fans will hope the Wolverines fan pull off the upset.

-Kansas State Wildcats 71, Nebraska Cornhuskers 56

This looked like a pretty fun one on paper, as Nebraska faced off against Kansas State in a throwback game from the program’s former days in the Big 12. Unfortunately, the Huskers got behind double-digits in the first half and couldn’t get enough offense going to hang with the Wildcats. Notably, all five of the team’s starters failed to score double-digits.

The loss dropped Nebraska to 6-6 overall as the team prepares for its final non-conference game of the season at home against Queens on Tuesday. At this point, it’s fair to have mixed feelings about this Husker squad. The team is clearly improved, but probably no enough to make a serious postseason push. We’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes out.

-Northwestern Wildcats 83, DePaul Blue Demons 45

This projected as a fun in-state meeting between two teams who were hoping to play improved basketball this season. However, the game ended up being a complete blowout, as Northwestern scored a 38-point win over the Blue Demons. It was one of Northwestern’s better performances of the season as the Wildcats held DePaul to 0.61 point per possession.

The win pushed Northwestern to 8-2 overall. The team is quietly putting together a pretty solid resume with a lot of wins of this variety, i.e., not against quality opponents, but against teams good enough to count on the resume statistics. Fans will hope the momentum can keep buildin gon Tuesday at home against Illinois-Chicago.

-No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 69, Davidson Wildcats 61

This game proved more competitive than Boilermaker fans would have liked, but still ended in the win column for Purdue thanks to 29 points and 16 rebounds for Zach Edey. Freshman Braden Smith also had 10 points and 12 rebounds. The win pushed Purdue to 11-0 on the season. It was the program’s eighth win over a top 150 opponent already this season.

Purdue will now get a few days off before hosting New Orleans at home on Wednesday. The win should be more than enough to keep the Boilers atop the weekly polls.

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 81, Wake Forest Demon Deacons 57

The Scarlet Knights got a quietly important win in this one on Saturday, thanks to 15 points from Cam Spencer in just 19 points of action. It was only Rutgers’ second win over a quality opponent this season and pushed the team to 7-4 overall. Rutgers will now get a few days off before facing off against Bucknell at home on Friday.