While the Buckeyes continue to try and find ways to snap their losing streak, they are starting to lose touch with the top of the Big Ten. Michigan and Michigan State were able to stay undefeated in conference last week, and look to be headed for a Saturday showdown for the top spot in conference. Iowa might have something to say about that though, as the Hawkeyes make their way to Crisler Arena to take on Michigan on Wednesday night.
Marquette (10-8, 2-3): LOSS @ Butler (69-57 OT):
Marquette and Butler met twice last season with their two meeting being decided by a combined three points. Butler took the early season meeting in the Maui Invitational 72-71, while Marquette got some payback in the NCAA Tournament 74-72. Through the first 24 minutes of the game it didn't look like the result would be that close, with Marquette holding a 40-28 lead. But the Golden Eagle offense sputtered down the stretch, only managing 17 points over the final 21 minutes. Butler actually took a 49-45 lead with 90 seconds left, but Marquette was able to find a way to force overtime, with two Jake Thomas free throws with 4.6 seconds left ultimately forcing overtime. Buzz Williams' team wasn't able to hang in overtime though, with Butler putting in the first seven points of the extra session, and ultimately pulling away. Devante Gardner gave Marquette a strong effort in 42 minutes of action, putting together a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists. After starting the season ranked in the Top-25, Marquette has failed to live up to pre-season expectations this year. The Golden Eagles will try to get on track this week with a road game at Georgetown on Monday, before trying to secure an upset on Saturday at home against sixth-ranked Villanova.
Maryland (11-7, 3-2): WIN v. Notre Dame (74-66):
Maryland was able to take home a conference matchup between two teams that Ohio State took on in their non-conference schedule. Things didn't look to be going so smooth for the Terrapins through 20 minutes, as they went into halftime trailing Notre Dame 34-25. Dez Wells was able to lead a Maryland comeback, scoring all of his team-high 17 points in the second half. In his first start of the season, Seth Allen added 14 points for the Terrapins. Whatever coach Mark Turgeon said at halftime worked for Maryland, as they pushed their lead to 10 points with just over five minutes to go before finishing the game with a eight-point victory. The Terrapins hit the road tonight for a game in Raleigh against North Carolina State, before trying to extract some revenge against #22 Pittsburgh in College Park on Saturday for the 20-point loss that the Panthers handed Maryland in Pittsburgh earlier in the month.
Notre Dame (11-7, 2-3): LOSS @ Maryland (74-66), WIN v. Virginia Tech (70-63):
Notre Dame looked like they were going to snap a two-game losing streak on Wednesday night, holding a 34-25 edge at halftime over Maryland. The Fighting Irish used a early 17-2 run to jump out to a 21-12 lead early in the first half against the Terrapins. During that run, Pat Connaughton scored 10 points on his way to 15 first half points. For the game Connaughton finished with 19 points. The second half was decidedly different from the first though, as Notre Dame turned the ball over eight times and failed to score in the first 6:30 of the half. This allowed Maryland to grab the lead and pull away from their new ACC foe.
On Sunday night Notre Dame again jumped out to a halftime lead, this time holding a 39-24 edge against Virginia Tech. but they were able to complete the victory, keeping the Hokies at bay. On a night when Notre Dame honored former coach Digger Phelps in their Ring Of Honor, the Fighting Irish wouldn't be denied behind 21 points for Connaughton. The Hokies were able to pull to 53-51 against Notre Dame, but a couple of Irish three-pointers that followed secured the victory, and allowed Notre Dame to end their three-game slide. Garrick Sherman only managed eight points for Notre Dame, which stopped a streak of 14 straight games that he scored in double figures. Notre Dame will continue their inaugural ACC season with road games against Florida State on Tuesday and Wake Forest on Saturday.
Purdue (13-5, 3-2): WIN @ Illinois (66-58), WIN v. Penn State (65-64):
After losing their first two games in conference play, Purdue made it three straight wins in the Big Ten with victories over Illinois and Penn State last week. The Boilermakers improved to 9-1 in their last 10 games against Illinois behind 17 points and eight rebounds from A.J. Hammons on Wednesday night. Purdue came out from halftime with a 10-5 run to erase a four-point deficit, and used a 23-7 rebounding edge in the second half to down the Fighting Illini. Ronnie Johnson pitched in with 13 points in the victory for Purdue.
The win over Penn State was a little bit harder to come by on Saturday night in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers found themselves down 64-61 with 16 seconds left in the game, but a Terone Johnson three-pointer with seven seconds left tied the game, and it looked like overtime would be on tap at Mackey Arena. Terone's brother, Ronnie Johnson, had different plans, as he broke up the in-bounds pass which resulted in A.J. Hammons being fouled with a second to go. Hammons went on to hit the game-winning free throw, and the Boilermakers kept Penn State winless in conference play. Terone Johnson finished with 14 points, and Basil Smotherman registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Boilermakers will try and keep their winning streak going when they travel to Northwestern on Tuesday before hosting a suddenly struggling Wisconsin team on Saturday.
Nebraska (8-8, 0-4): No games last week:
The Cornhuskers last saw action last Sunday in a loss to Purdue, and will get back on the court tonight against Ohio State in Lincoln. Nebraska will be trying to end a five-game losing streak, and trying to avoid losing two in a row at the new Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Cornhuskers will stay busy this week with a road game against Penn State on Thursday night, before returning home to host Minnesota on Sunday.
#4 Michigan State (17-1, 6-0): WIN @ Northwestern (54-40), WIN @ Illinois (78-62):
After needing overtime in wins over Ohio State and Minnesota, Michigan State didn't need any extra time last week while hitting the road to notch two wins in the state of Illinois. The win over Northwestern on Wednesday night wasn't anything that Tom Izzo would put on a highlight reel, but the Spartans still toughed their way to a 14-point win in Evanston. Gary Harris paced Michigan State with 14 points while Keith Appling scored 11 points. The Spartans weren't at 100% as Adreian Payne missed his second straight game due to a foot injury, and Branden Dawson was dealing with an illness. Dawson was able to give the Spartans some minutes, pulling down 11 rebounds off the bench.
Payne also didn't play in the victory on Saturday night against Illinois, which allowed Tom Izzo to pass former Illini coach Lou Henson for fourth all-time in Big Ten victories. The 16-point win gave Izzo his 215th conference victory, and was fitting that he passed Henson on the court that Henson used to coach on. Gary Harris again provided the scoring punch for the Spartans, putting in a game-high 23 points. Denzel Valentine was able to add to the victory cause for the Spartans with a double-double, totaling 15 points and 11 rebounds. After spending last week on the road, Michigan State will be able to spend this week in East Lansing, hosting Indiana on Tuesday before a in-state showdown with Michigan on Saturday.
#14 Iowa (15-3, 4-1): WIN v. Minnesota (94-73):
After having a week to digest their victory against Ohio State, Iowa got back into action on Sunday and looked like they didn't miss a beat against Minnesota. The game was tight through 20 minutes of action, with Minnesota taking a 43-41 lead into the break. The Hawkeyes made all the right moves during the intermission though, going on to outscore the Golden Gophers by 23 points in the second half. Aaron White scored all of his 18 points in the second half, while Josh Oglesby scored a season-high 17 points off the bench for the Hawkeyes. The win marked the 20th straight win for Iowa at home, which is one shy of tying the school record. The Hawkeyes won't get a chance this week to tie that record though, with road games against Michigan on Wednesday and Northwestern on Saturday on deck this week.
Minnesota (14-5, 3-3): WIN v. #11 Ohio State (63-53), LOSS @ #14 Iowa (94-73):
Through twenty minutes of play on Sunday it looked like Minnesota might have a shot to knock off two ranked teams during the week, and in turn possibly earn a spot in the Top-25, but the Hawkeyes were just too much for Minnesota to handle in Iowa City. The Golden Gophers were able to shut down Ohio State in the second half on Thursday night in Minneapolis on their way to handing the Buckeyes a third straight loss. A full recap of the game can be found here,
Minnesota took a 43-41 lead into halftime against Iowa on Sunday afternoon, but the Hawkeyes were able to find a way to stop Andre Hollins in the second half and pull away from the Golden Gophers. Hollins scored 20 points in the game, but he wasn't able to hit a field goal in the second 20 minutes of the game. Roy Devyn Marble scored 14 points for the Hawkeyes in the first eight-plus minutes of the first half to give Iowa a cushion that Minnesota wasn't able to overcome. Austin Hollins was the only other Minnesota player to hit double-figures, scoring 13 points and pulling down eight rebounds. Minnesota will try to add to Wisconsin's woes on Wednesday night when the Badgers vist, before hitting the road to play Nebraska on Sunday night.
After looking like they'd be a team to watch out for in the Big Ten this year after winning their first two conference games of the year, Illinois has fallen on hard times, now having lost four in a row. Home court didn't mean much to the Fighting Illini last week, dropping both games they played at the State Farm Center. Illinois held a 33-29 at halftime on Wednesday night against Purdue, behind 10 points in the opening 20 minutes from Rayvonte Rice. The Boilermakers locked down on Rice in the second half, only allowing him to score a point on their way to upending John Groce's team. Tracy Abrams was high-scorer for Illinois in the ballgame with 13 points.
Illinois was hoping to bounce back and upset Michigan State in front of the home crowd on Saturday night, but those plans fell apart pretty early, with the Fighting Illini falling behind and not being able to recover. Abrams again led Illinois, this time with 15 points, while Rice was held in check by the Spartan defense, only able to put home 12 points. Illinois didn't get much from their big men in the game, with Nnanna Egwu and Maverick Morgan on combining for four points and five rebounds. Over the past two games, Egwu hasn't scored even though he started both games and played 55 total minutes. The road doesn't get any easier for Illinois this week, as the Fighting Illini will travel to Columbus on Thursday before taking on Indiana in Bloomington on Sunday.
Penn State (9-10, 0-6): LOSS @ Michigan (80-67), LOSS @ Purdue (65-64):
Penn State wasn't able to gain earn their first win of the Big Ten season last week, and they'll be kicking themselves for not being able to put Saturday night's game at Purdue away. Earlier in the week while playing Michigan in Ann Arbor, Penn State found themselves down 14 early in the first half, but they were able to hang around for a while, closing the gap to 47-45 in the second half, before Michigan finally pulled away. D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier both put in 17 points a piece for Penn State, who never were able to grab the lead in the contest.
While Penn State wasn't in the game with Michigan at the end, they can't say the same with their trip to West Lafayette on Saturday, holding a three-point lead with less than 30 seconds left in the game. Purdue was able to hit a three-pointer and then a sloppy in-bounds pass from the Nittany Lions led to the game-winning free throw that gave Purdue the ballgame. Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill both were able to register double-doubles with 10 rebounds each, and Frazier leading the Nittany Lions with 19 points and Newbill adding 17 points. Penn State will return home this week with only one game on deck, a Thursday night meeting with Nebraska in State College.
#3 Wisconsin (16-2, 3-2): LOSS @ Indiana (75-72), LOSS v. Michigan (77-70):
As quickly as Wisconsin was able to set a school record for best start to a season in school history, that streak was stopped with a loss to Indiana in Bloomington on Tuesday night. Coming into the meeting Wisconsin was one of only four teams in the country still undefeated, and the Badgers were trying to become the first team to win 13 straight games against the Hoosiers. The Badgers looked to be well on their way to handing Indiana another loss, up by double-figures in the second half, but a 12-0 Hoosier run gave Indiana the lead for good in the basketball game. All five Badger starters scored in double figures, with the high-scorer for Wisconsin being Traevon Jackson and his career-high 21 points. Of those 21 points put in by Jackson, 16 points came in the second half. Both Jackson and Ben Brust had shots to tie the game with a three-pointer in the last 12 seconds of the game, but Wisconsin couldn't get the game-tying shot to fall.
The Badgers returned home on Saturday and were hoping to start a new winning streak against the Wolverines, but the Badgers again stumbled and ended up losing their second in the row. Last year these two teams played a thriller in Madison, with a Ben Brust prayer sending the game to overtime before Wisconsin won in the extra session. Wisconsin wasn't able to get overtime this year, but they almost put themselves into position to force extra time. The Badgers used a 14-2 late in the game to pull within a point of the Wolverines, but a Nik Stauskas three-pointer later put the final nail in Wisconsin. After leading Wisconsin on Tuesday night, Jackson was the only Badger starter that didn't make it double-figures against Michigan. Josh Gasser hit four three-pointers to lead Wisconsin with 16 points in the game. The Badgers will hit the road again this week, with games at Minnesota on Wednesday and Purdue on Saturday.
Michigan (13-4, 5-0): WIN v. Penn State (80-67), WIN @ #3 Wisconsin (77-70):
Michigan continues to keep plugging along without Mitch McGary, who is out indefinitely with a back injury, winning behind the leadership of Nik Stauskas this week. Stauskas put in 21 points in the win against Penn State in Ann Arbor on Wednesday night. The score was 47-45 Michigan in the second half, before a Stuaskas three-pointer created some distance on the scoreline, and Penn State never was able to get that close in the game again. Derrick Walton Jr added 16 points and Glenn Robinson III scored 15 for Michigan.
The challenge was a little tougher on Saturday, having to go on the road and try to knock off a Wisconsin team coming off a loss, but Stauskas was again up to the task of leading his team to victory. It was again a second-half three-pointer that created some separatation in the score, but it came much later in Saturday night's game. With less than a minute to go, Stauskas hit a step-back three-pointer to put Michigan up 71-67, and keep them undefeated in Big Ten play. Stauskas finished with 23 points, while Caris LeVert was Michigan's second option in the game with 20 points. The Wolverines will have to be on their game this week if they want to stay undefeated in the Big Ten, as they'll host Iowa on Wednesday night before taking on rival Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday.
Northwestern (9-10, 2-4): LOSS v. #4 Michigan State (54-40), WIN @ Indiana (54-47):
After gaining their first win of the Big Ten season last Sunday against Illinois, the Hoosiers doubled their win total with a victory at Indiana on Saturday, with a loss to Michigan State at home sandwiched in between. The Wildcats only trailed by four points at halftime, but the strength of Michigan State was just too much for Northwestern to deal with. The last time Northwestern beat a team ranked in the top-five came in January of 1979 when they knocked off a fourth-ranked Michigan State team. The Wildcats couldn't repeat history though, as they were only able to muster 18 second half points. Tre Demps scored 12 points to be the only Northwestern player that was able to reach double-figures in scoring during the game. The Wildcats were playing their second straight game without Dave Sobolewski, who was out due to a concussion.
Saturday saw Northwestern win their first Big Ten road game in a year with a victory over Indiana in Bloomington. Drew Crawford posted 17 points and 11 rebounds for Northwestern, while Tre Demps scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half to lead the victory charge for Northwestern. The game was tied at 40 before a Demps three-pointer gave the Wildcats the lead for good, and earned head coach Chris Collins his second career Big Ten victory. Much like the previous two games, Northwestern was again without Sobolewski. The Wildcats won't have to hit the road this week and will hope to have Sobolewski back for home games against Purdue on Tuesday and Iowa on Saturday.
Indiana (12-6, 2-3): WIN v. #3 Wisconsin (75-72), LOSS v. Northwestern (54-47):
Coming into the week if you told Hoosiers fans would split their two games during the week, the overwhelming consensus probably would be that they lost to Wisconsin and beat Northwestern. It was the opposite of what most thought, with Indiana starting the week snapping a 12-game losing streak against the Badgers. Indiana was able to fight out of deficits in the first and second halves, with a 12-0 run in the second half giving Indiana a 54-52 lead with just over eight minutes to go. The Hoosiers would never trail again after taking that lead, holding off a late charge from the Badgers. Students rushed the floor as the final buzzer sounded to surrond Yogi Ferrell, who scored 25 points, and the rest of the Hoosiers.
Ferrell came into the Northwestern game as the Big Ten's leading scorer, but was only able to account for nine points in the shock loss to Northwestern on Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers were only able to hit 25% of their shots in the ball game, and really the only offense came from freshman Noah Vornleh, who put up 17 points and 12 rebounds. After losing such a big portion of last year's team, these are some of the growing pains that were bound to come with having a young team, but that can't be any solace to Indiana fans. The Hoosiers will have to regroup quickly to try and avenge a couple early season losses this week, with a road matchup with Michigan State on tap for Tuesday and a home game against Illinois to follow on Sunday.