The Big Ten had a few games on Saturday and all three had some genuine intrigue. The biggest game was in Cleveland between Ohio State and West Virginia.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Ohio State Buckeyes 78, West Virginia Mountaineers 75 (OT)
The Buckeyes closed out non-conference play on Saturday with an intriguing neutral site game against West Virginia. The game was played in Cleveland and had a bit of a regional feel. It figured to be a key resume opportunity for Ohio State and a chance for the team to keep its momentum going into the restart of Big Ten play.
The game itself was hard fought and competitive throughout. The Buckeyes grabbed the lead initially, but West Virginia battled back by halftime and kept within striking distance in the second then. A final push got the teams into overtime, wherein Ohio State got just enough to escape with the win. Roddy Gayle led the way with 32 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Jamison Battle also had 17 points and nine rebounds.
Ohio State improved to 11-2 overall following the win. The team has now won three straight since the debacle against Penn State in early December and 10 of its last 11 games. It’s a red hot unit that has a genuine shot of moving into the top 25 on Monday. And given the mixed expectations coming into the season, that has to thrill fans. The Buckeyes will return to action on Wednesday at home against Rutgers.
-Michigan State Spartans 87, Indiana State Sycamores 75
This might have not looked like a marquee matchup at first glance, but Indiana State entered Saturday with a relatively impressive resume. The Sycamores were 11-1 overall and the team’s only loss came on the road to Alabama. This was a key opportunity for Indiana State to prove it was more than a good mid-major.
Fortunately for Spartan fans, Indiana State couldn’t get the job done.
While the Sycamores made this a game deep into the second half, Michigan State proved to be too much. Tyson Walker led the way with 22 points and five assists. Malik Hall also had 18 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. The Spartans improved to 8-5 overall with the win and have now won four straight. The team will get a few days off before returning to action on Thursday at home against Penn State.
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 59, Stonehill Skyhawks 58
It’s hard to feel good about this one, even though it was technically a win for the Scarlet Knights. Stonehill entered as one of the nation’s weakest teams and it took everything Rutgers had to escape with a 59-58 win. Clifford Omoruyi led the way with 17 points and 17 rebounds. The win pushed Rutgers to 8-4 overall, though the performance was rough enough to drop the Scarlet Knights 13 spots on KenPom in a single outing.
Fans will hope Rutgers can bounce back in the coming days and put this one behind it quickly. The Scarlet Knights return to action on Wednesday on the road against Ohio State.