The Big Ten only had two games on Thursday night, but both were fantastic with Purdue going on the road to face Michigan and Michigan State hosting Iowa. Both games were decided by just a few points.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 75, Michigan Wolverines 70
Over the last few years, Ann Arbor has been a house of horrors for Boilermaker fans. Regardless of the season or the circumstances, the environment has given Purdue trouble. As such, many had this one circled as a potential stumbling block for the team. Wolverine fans were also hoping for an upset to help get the team’s season back on track.
Ultimately, Purdue would pass the test, earning a 75-70 win that probably wasn’t quite as close as the final score. Fletcher Loyer led the way with 17 points and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Braden Smith also had 10 points as Purdue finished with an impressive 1.15 points per possession.
The win pushed the Boilers to 20-1 overall and 9-1 in Big Ten play. At this point, Purdue isn’t just the Big Ten favorite, it’s an overwhelming favorite that is bordering on a lock to grab at least a share of the conference crown. It’s been a remarkable run and arguably the team’s best start through 21 games in modern history. Purdue will hope to keep things rolling at home against Michigan State on Sunday.
On the other side, Michigan fell to 11-9 overall and 5-4 in Big Ten play. The team actually played pretty well in the loss. Unfortunately, it was again too little to close the deal. Michigan’s postseason hopes are now on life support, to the extent they exist at all anymore. The team will return to action on Sunday on the road against Penn State. It’s essentially a “must win” at this point.
-Michigan State Spartans 63, Iowa Hawkeyes 61
For large segments of this one, it looked like Iowa was going to find a way to escape with the win. However, Michigan State was able to use a strong push in the final 10 minutes of game time to cross the finish line and earn a 63-61 win. Jaden Akins led the way with 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Michigan State improved to 14-7 overall and 6-4 in Big Ten play with the win while Iowa fell to 12-8 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play with the loss.
Michigan State will now prepare for a brutal road contest against Purdue on Sunday while Iowa will get Rutgers at home on Sunday. Both will have their work cut out.