The Big Ten had two respectable matchups on Wednesday night, highlighted by a meeting between Purdue and Penn State. Fans also got to enjoy Minnesota and Rutgers tangling in a potential upset opportunity for the Gophers.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 80, Penn State Nittany Lions 60
Like many of Purdue’s recent games, Penn State kept this close for awhile, but fell apart in the opening minutes of the second half as the Boilers eventually won by double-digits. Zach Edey had a “quiet” night with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Mason Gillis exploded for 29 points in 25 minutes of game time.
Purdue improved to 22-1 overall and 11-1 in Big Ten play. The team has now won nine straight dating back to the loss to Rutgers in early January. The Boilers will now prepare for a showdown with Indiana in Bloomington on Saturday afternoon. It figures to be one of the best atmospheres in the Big Ten this season. And while the Big Ten is already nearly wrapped up, a win on Saturday would close it out. It’s an opportunity Boilermaker fans have to be excited about.
On the other side, Penn State fell to 14-8 overall and 5-6 in Big Ten play. The team is still a legit NCAA Tournament contender and has been playing well, despite a 3-5 record over its last eight games. The losses have all been competitive or in tough spots. It’s not reasonable to get upset over a team like Penn State dropping games to Purdue and Rutgers. Those are incredibly difficult games to win. Dropping one or two isn’t anything to panic about.
Penn State will continue trying to build its resume over the weekend on the road against Nebraska on Sunday. It’s a game the Nittany Lions should win, though Nebraska has shown some fight at home. We’ll have to wait and see if Penn State can prevent an upset.
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 90, Minnesota Golden Gophers 55
This figured to be a mismatch and played out that way, as Rutgers absolutely steamrolling Minnesota. The game was never really competitive and six Scarlet Knights finished with double-digits, including 17 points for Cam Spencer. Rutgers finished with an impressive 1.3 points per possession on the night.
Rutgers improved to 15-7 overall and 7-4 in Big Ten play with the win while Minnesota fell to 7-14 overall and 1-10 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Scarlet Knights will now prepare for a marquee matchup against Michigan State in New York City on Saturday. The Gophers will try to bounce back at home against Maryland on Saturday.