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2/18 Big Ten Recap: Indiana Beats Illinois

Recap all the Big Ten action from Saturday.

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Big Ten had a full slate on Saturday, highlighted by a massive matchup in Bloomington and a rivalry game in Ann Arbor. Of course, the meeting between Michigan and Michigan State would take on a different tone as a result of the tragedy in East Lansing earlier this week.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Night:

-No. 14 Indiana Hoosiers 71, Illinois Fighting Illini 68

Regardless of your allegiances, this was a great game on Saturday afternoon. It was well played on both sides and came down to the final few possessions. While Illini fans are certainly disappointed Illinois couldn’t find a way to win, it certainly wasn’t a “losing” effort. It was a tough game on both sides the Hoosiers did just enough to win.

The game would also swing back and forth as well. Indiana won the opening minutes, but Illinois took control after that and led into halftime. Matthew Mayer was the player that really carried things for the Illini and finished with 24 points and eight rebounds on the evening. However, as the second half unfolded, Indiana gradually took control and did just enough to grab the lead in the closing minutes and eventually the win. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the effort with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists. He was absolutely sensational and continues to put together an All-American effort.

With the win, Indiana improved to 19-8 overall and 10-6 in Big Ten play and kept the Hoosiers alive in the Big Ten title race for at least a few more days. Indiana now has four games remaining and KenPom expects the team to go 2-2 in that spin. It will likely take a perfect 4-0 performance for the Hoosiers to grab a share of the conference title. We’ll see if the team can get it done starting with Michigan State on the road on Tuesday.

On the other side, Illinois fell to 17-9 overall and 8-7 in Big Ten play with the loss. It was the team’s third loss in four games, though the quality of play was significantly better than what fans saw out of Illinois earlier in the week. Fortunately, things should get easier for Illinois next as the team gets a struggling Minnesota squad at home on Monday.

The Rest:

-Michigan Wolverines 84, Michigan State Spartans 72

After the tragedy at Michigan State earlier this week, the tone of this game changed considerably from its usual fiery nature. There was little (to no) smack talking between the rivalries in the days leading up to tip and Michigan had a variety of displays in Crisler honoring Michigan State and those impacted by the dreadful shooting in East Lansing earlier this week. For example, this is how Crisler looked before tip:

However, once the game tipped, the drama quickly returned and fans got to enjoy a close battle between the two in-state rivals. Michigan State controlled most of the first half and even a good chunk of the opening of the second half. However, they had few answers for freshmen Dug McDaniel and Tarris Reed. McDaniel finished with 18 points and four assists and Reed had eight points and 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action off the bench.

The win pushed Michigan to 15-12 overall and 9-7 in Big Ten play while Michigan State fell to 16-10 overall and 8-7 in Big Ten play. The Wolverines will hope to build off this win with Rutgers on the road on Thursday. Michigan State will return to action on Tuesday at home against Indiana in what’s sure to be another emotional environment.

-Penn State Nittany Lions 76, Minnesota Golden Gophers 69

The Nittany Lions were favored in this one and lived up to the billing, scoring a seven-point road win over Minnesota. Jalen Pickett led the way with 32 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in another spectacular performance this week. Penn State improved to 16-11 overall and 7-9 in Big Ten play with the win while Minnesota fell to 7-17 overall and 1-13 in Big Ten play with the loss. Penn State will now prepare for Ohio State on the road on Thursday. Minnesota will try and bounce back on the road against Illinois on Monday.

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 58, Wisconsin Badgers 57

This was an ugly one for stretches, but Scarlet Knight fans likely don’t care, as Rutgers was able to come away with a narrow road win over Wisconsin. The win pushed Rutgers to 17-10 overall and 9-7 in Big Ten play. Cam Spencer led the way with 22 points and five rebounds. Cliff Omoruyi also had 12 points and eight rebounds. Wisconsin fell to 15-11 overall and 7-9 in Big Ten play with the loss.

Rutgers will now return home and prepare for an important home game against Michigan on Thursday night. While the Scarlet Knights are solid favorites in the game, it’s been a rough go for Rutgers over the last few weeks. If Rutgers is going to avoid a late season collapse, it’s the kind of game the Scarlet Knights need to find a way to win. Wisconsin will hope to get back on track against Iowa at home on Wednesday.