The Big Ten had an unbelievable slate of games on Saturday, highlighted by a top five battle in Indianapolis between Purdue and Arizona and a road trip for Kansas against Indiana.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers 92, No. 1 Arizona Wildcats 84
It’s rare to get a game like this in the regular season, let alone at this point in the season, when most of the non-conference tournaments have already wrapped up. But fans got treated to a great one on Saturday, as the two teams tangled. It was an epic battle that lived up to the hype.
The eventual difference in the game was Fletcher Loyer, who went off from three and finished with 27 points in the wing. Braden Smith also had 26 points and four rebounds. It was the rare time when Zach Edey was outperformed by a teammate, though the big man still had 22 points. Arizona put up a good fight in the second half, but didn’t have enough to make up for the first half missteps as Purdue grabbed a 92-84 win.
Obviously, the significance of this one largely goes without saying. Beating the No. 1 team in the nation is quite a statement and should go a long way for Purdue’s resume on Selection Sunday. It’s unclear if the Boilermakers can get enough of a boost from the victory to move atop next week’s rankings, but it’s certainly going to be a discussion.
Purdue improved to 10-1 overall with the win. The Boilermakers will return to action on Thursday at home against Jacksonville.
-No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks 75, Indiana Hoosiers 71
The Hoosiers performed above expectations in this one and nearly pulled off the upset over No. 2 ranked Kansas. Unfortunately for Hoosier fans, Kansas got just enough from Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar down the stretch to avoid the upset. Trey Galloway was fantastic for the Hoosiers and finished with 28 points in the loss.
Indiana fell to 7-3 overall with the loss. The team will hope to bounce back at home against Morehead State at home on Tuesday. It should be a win, though Morehead State is around the top 150 in KenPom, so it could be a bit tight.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 88, Florida A&M Rattlers 52
This was a lopsided affair, as Iowa cruised to an easy win over Florida A&M. Tony Perkins led the way with 12 points, seven assists, and five rebounds. Iowa was able to unload its bench early in this one. The Hawkeyes improved to 6-5 overall with the win. Iowa will return to action on Wednesday at home against UMBC.
-Michigan Wolverines 83, Eastern Michigan Eagles 66
Juwan Howard finally returned to the sideline as Michigan’s head coach on Saturday, leading the Wolverines to a convincing win over Eastern Michigan. Olivier Nkamhoua led the way with 17 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Nimari Burnett also had 14 points. Michigan improved to 6-5 overall with the win. The team will now prepare for a matchup against Florida in North Carolina on Tuesday.
-Michigan State Spartans 88, No. 6 Baylor Bears 64
The Spartans had a tremendous performance in this one, blowing the doors off Baylor in a game in Detroit. Tyson Walker led the way with 25 points, but the real real story was Michigan State’s defense, which held the Bears to just 0.90 points per possession and just 17 points in the first half.
Michigan State improved to 5-5 overall with the win. The team will now prepare for Oakland at home on Monday.
-No. 25 Northwestern Wildcats 56, DePaul Blue Demons 46
After Wednesday’s loss to Chicago State, many were wondering how Northwestern would show up in this one. Fortunately for Wildcat fans, the team showed up and grabbed a road win over DePaul. Nick Martinelli led the way with 16 points and five rebounds. Northwestern improved to 8-2 overall with the win. The team will now prepare for a game against Arizona State in Arizona. It should be a tough one.
-Ohio State Buckeyes 67, UCLA Bruins 60
The league scored another big win in this one, as Ohio State held off a late comeback effort from the Bruins to score a 67-60 win in Atlanta. Roddy Gayle and Jamison Battle led the way with 33 combined points. Bruce Thornton also had 13 points.
Ohio State improved to 9-2 overall with the win. The Buckeyes will now prepare for a game against New Orleans at home on Thursday. It should be a win.
-Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 82, Penn State Nittany Lions 81 (OT)
After knocking off Ohio State, Penn State fans were hoping for another quality win. Unfortunately, the team fell just a bucket short of getting the job done against Georgia Tech. Kanye Clary led the way with 23 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Ace Baldwin also had 18 points and seven assists.
Penn State fell to 5-6 overall with the loss. The team will return to action at home against Le Moyne on Thursday.
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 83, LIU Sharks 61
The Scarlet Knights cruised to an easy win here, thanks in large part to 25 points and 11 rebounds from Clifford Omoruyi. Aundre Hyatt also had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Rutgers improved to 7-3 overall with the win. The team will now prepare for a game against Mississippi State in Neward on December 23rd. It should be a great environment.