The Big Ten had three games on Friday. Two were marquee matchups involving Illinois and Maryland. The last put Wisconsin against Chicago State at home.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Maryland Terrapins 69, UCLA Bruins 60
Heading into tip, this felt like a big one for the Terps. Maryland has struggled out of the gates this season and desperately needed to add a quality win to its resume. In many ways, this felt like the team’s last realistic chance of resurrecting its season. It’s always dangerous to make proclamations like that in December, but it felt that way.
Fortunately, for Maryland fans, the team came out swing. The Terps jumped out to an early lead and never really looked back from there. Jahmir Young impressed throughout the game and finished with an incredible 37 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Donta Scott also had 17 points. UCLA trimmed at the deficit in the second half, but never got close enough to truly scare Maryland.
The Terps improved to 8-4 overall with the win and shot some adrenaline into the team’s season. Maryland has now quietly won seven of its last eight games, with the lone loss coming on the road against a decent Indiana squad. If the Terps can take care of business next Thursday against Coppin State at home, it should set up a monster game against Purdue to open things up in January. Pull off an upset there and the season starts looking significantly different.
-No. 13 Illinois Fighting Illini 97, Missouri Tigers 73
After the last few years, Illinois fans weren’t feeling much confidence heading into this one. However, the team played well from the start and scored a comfortable 97-73 win. Terrence Shannon led the way with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Quincy Guerrier also had a great game with 28 points. Illinois was eventually able to unload the bench in the closing minutes.
Illinois improved to 9-2 overall with the win. The team also bumped up to eighth nationally on KenPom, which is a season high. Illinois now has five wins over top 160 teams on KenPom. Fans will hope the team can keep things rolling on Friday at home against Fairleigh Dickinson.
-No. 24 Wisconsin Badgers 80, Chicago State Cougars 53
The Badgers cruised to an easy win in this one, as AJ Storr led the way with 29 points and two rebounds. Steven Crowl also had 13 points. Wisconsin’s defense was impressive, holding Chicago State to just 0.82 points per possession. Wisconsin improved to 9-3 overall with the win. The Badgers will return to action in January at home against Iowa on January 2nd. It should be a fun battle.