The Big Ten has had some noise coming from the bottom lately, with Northwestern and Penn State playing some strong basketball. On Wednesday night Penn State downed Ohio State in Columbus and Northwestern topped Wisconsin in Madison. It was the first time since 1993 that both Northwestern and Penn State won on the road on the same night. Michigan also saw their undefeated Big Ten season come to an end with a loss at Indiana on Sunday. With the constant movement of the standings in the Big Ten, the last month-plus should be quite a treat for basketball fans.
Marquette (12-10, 4-5): WIN v. Providence (61-50), LOSS @ St. John's (74-59):
Marquette continued their win-loss streak last week by first notching a win over Providence on Thursday night before dropping the first game of a basketball triple-header at Madison Square Garden to St. John's on Saturday. In their last 12 games Marquette has alternated wins and losses and their week got started by snapping Providence's five-game winning streak. Marquette jumped out to a 31-14 halftime lead and withstood a second half charge by Providence that saw a 16-0 run bring them as a close as 37-34. Davante Gardner scored 14 points off the bench for the Golden Eagles, while Jamil Wilson added 11 points in the victory.
The second game of the week wasn't nearly as kind for Marquette, as St. John's led by as many as 24 points in the second half on their way to a 74-59 win. The combination of 27 points from D'Angelo Harrison and seven blocks from Chris Obekpa was too much for the Golden Eagles to compete with at Madison Square Garden. Marquette didn't help their own cause, committing 16 turnovers in the game, and only going 3-14 from beyond the arc. If recent history holds true Marquette is now due a victory in their only game this week when they play Butler only Tuesday. The two teams squared off in Indianapolis a couple weeks ago with Butler earning a 69-57 victory in overtime.
Maryland (13-9, 5-4): WIN v. Miami (FL) (74-71), WIN @ Virginia Tech (80-60):
Maryland snapped a two-game losing streak with a victory over Miami on Wednesday night, and kept the good play rolling on Saturday against Virginia Tech. Against Miami it seemed like the Terrapins were doing their best to extend their losing streak. Dez Wells only played five minutes in the first half due to picking up two fouls, but he made up for it in the second half. Wells scored all of his 21 points in the second half, including hitting the tie-breaking three-pointer with 5.9 seconds left. Maryland had a 10-point lead with two and a half minutes left, but the Hurricanes found their way back in it before the Wells game-winner. Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz each added 15 points for Maryland.
The Terrapins didn't have to sweat the game against Virginia Tech nearly as much, jumping out to a 43-35 halftime lead and never looking back. Dez Wells didn't start the game as punishment for being late for a team breakfast, but he entered the game early and still scored 19 points for Maryland. The Terrapins led by as many as 23 points before eventually sending Virginia Tech to their eighth straight loss. The competition will get turned up this week when Maryland travels to Chapel Hill to play North Carolina on Tuesday night before hosting Florida State on Saturday.
Notre Dame (12-10, 3-6): LOSS v. Virginia (68-53), WIN v, Boston College (76-73 OT):
Early in the week Virginia extended Notre Dame's recent woes before a weekend overtime victory against Boston College gave the Fighting Irish a sliver of hope. Virginia left little in doubt early against Notre Dame, using a 17-3 run early to jump out to a 32-12 lead. Notre Dame was able to cut the lead to 10 points by halftime, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep them from falling to defeat for the sixth time in their last seven games. After normally being tough at home, the loss to Virginia marked the fourth straight home loss for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish didn't help their cause by committing a season-high 20 turnovers against the Cavaliers.
The Notre Dame home losing streak was almost extended to five games, but a couple big shots from Eric Atkins helped them to send Boston College home with a loss. Atkins hit a free throw with 0.7 left in regulation to tie the game, but missed the second free throw that would've won the game in regulation. Atkins made up for missing that second free throw by hitting the tie-breaking three-pointer with a second left in overtime, which helped Atkins finish with 24 points. Pat Connaughton pitched in with 17 points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will face a couple of tough challenges this week, traveling to Syracuse on Monday before hosting North Carolina on Saturday.
Purdue (13-9, 3-6): LOSS @ #10 Michigan (75-66), LOSS @ Penn State (79-68):
After winning three in a row early in January in Big Ten play, now Purdue has dropped their last four games. The Boilermakers went into Ann Arbor on Thursday night and were no match for the Wolverines. Coming into the game Purdue was 78-4 under Matt Painter when outrebounding their opponent and committing less turnovers. The Boilermakers held a 32-30 edge on the boards in the game and only committed 11 turnovers to Michigan's 16. A.J. Hammons put up 16 points and eight rebounds for Purdue but it wasn't enough to knock off Michigan.
Hammons scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Penn State, as Purdue led very early in the game but Penn State then took control and held the lead for the rest of the game after a 21-4 run in the first half. The Boilermakers were able to head into halftime only down 34-29, but they couldn't get much closer than that the rest of the game. The Johnson brothers were the only other Boilermakers that scored in double figures, with Ronnie scoring 12 points and Terone adding 10 points. Purdue will try to snap their skid when they host Minnesota on Wednesday before traveling to Columbus to face the Buckeyes on Saturday.
Nebraska (11-9, 3-5): WIN v. Indiana (60-55):
Nebraska upped their record at the new Pinnacle Bank Arena to 10-1 with a victory over Indiana on Thursday night. Terran Petteway scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, as Nebraska was able to recover from a 32-19 deficit at halftime. Nathan Hawkins hit a three-pointer for Nebraska to tie the game at 46, which was his first made field goal since 12/14. That was the last time that Nebraska trailed during the game, as they won for the third time in the last four games. The Cornhuskers have won back-to-back games in the Big Ten, marking the first time they have done that since joining the league three years ago. It might be hard for Nebraska to extend their winning streak this week though, with road games at Michigan on Wednesday and Northwestern on Saturday.
#7 Michigan State (19-3, 8-1): WIN @ #15 Iowa (71-69 OT), LOSS v. Georgetown (64-60):
Michigan State started the week with a hard-fought victory overtime victory over Iowa on Tuesday night in Iowa City. The Spartans were again missing Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson due to injury, but Keith Appling was able to lead Michigan State with 16 points despite dealing with a wrist injury. The game was pretty close throughout, but Michigan State was able to put a little bit of distance on Iowa in overtime, with a Russell Byrd three-pointer extending the lead to 70-64 with 34 seconds to go. Iowa fought back and nearly forced a second overtime but a Mike Gesell layup wouldn't fall. Matt Costello registered a double-double for Michigan State with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Spartans didn't have quite as much luck in Saturday's game against Georgetown at Madison Square Garden. Michigan State held a 30-29 halftime lead, but a Georgetown opened up the second half with a 11-2 run. A Gary Harris three-pointer with 1:32 left brought Michigan State to within 56-54, but that was as close as they'd get. Harris was the leading scorer for Michigan State in the game with 20 points. Michigan State had won the previous two games they played this year in New York City area when they played in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. This week Michigan State will host Penn State on Thursday before going back on the road to battle Wisconsin on Sunday.
#15 Iowa (17-5, 6-3): LOSS v. #7 Michigan State (71-69 OT), WIN @ Illinois (81-74):
Tuesday night's home game for Iowa was so big that Iowa governor Terry Branstad was in attendance for Iowa's first game against a ranked team while the Hawkeyes were also ranked since 2006. The Hawkeyes didn't send the fans home happy in a game that featured 11 ties and 16 lead changes. Had Iowa been able to hit a shot or two late in the game they would've sent Michigan State home as a loser, but the Hawkeyes went through a 14:50 field goal drought in the second half. Roy Devyn Marble's layup with six seconds left in overtime to make it 71-69 broke the field goal drought, and Iowa actually had a chance to tie but Mike Gesell wasn't able to make a layup as time expired. Marble led Iowa with 21 points while Aaron White added 10 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort.
Early on against Illinois on Saturday night Iowa showed no signs of a hangover from the tough loss, jumping out to a 34-13 lead 12 minutes into the game. But another field goal drought hit the Hawkeyes, as they didn't hit a field goal in the final 7:37 of the first half which allowed Illinois to close the score to 40-36. The struggles for Iowa carried over to the second half, with Illinois opening up a 66-61 lead before the Hawkeyes were able to take back the lead behind Gabriel Olaseni's efforts off the bench, Olaseni finished with 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while Marble was the leading scorer for the Hawkeyes with 17 points. Now Iowa will spend the week at home, hosting Ohio State on Tuesday night followed by Michigan on Saturday.
Minnesota (15-7, 4-5): LOSS v. Northwestern (55-54):
Despite owning a 36-14 edge in points in the paint, Minnesota was shocked at home by a suddenly surging Northwestern team on Saturday. After going 8-12 from three-point range against Nebraska, Malik Smith wasn't able to find his range from distance against Northwestern, only shooting 1-9 from behind the arc. The Golden Gophers had a shot to win, but DeAndre Mathieu's layup was short and the putback attempt by Mo Walker wasn't able to fall. Walker did finish the game as Minnesota's leading scorer with 14 points, while Austin Hollins added 13 points and six rebounds. The Golden Gophers were again without Andre Hollins, who didn't play for the second straight game due to an ankle injury. Minnesota will now travel to Purdue for a game on Wednesday before hosting Indiana back in Minneapolis on Saturday.
Illinois (13-9, 2-7): LOSS v. #15 Iowa (81-74):
Illinois and John Groce are really struggling, with Saturday's loss to Iowa extending their losing streak to seven games, which is their longest since 1999. The Fighting Illini did show a little bit of fight after falling behind by 21 only 12 minutes into the game. Illinois cut the Iowa lead to 40-36 by halftime, and were able to lead by as many as five points midway through the second half. Joseph Bertrand scored 20 points to lead Illinois to a near-upset, while Rayvonte Rice put in 13 points in the loss. Next Illinois will take on another team that's struggling when they host Wisconsin on Tuesday before traveling to State College on Sunday to face Penn State.
Penn State (12-10, 3-6): WIN @ #24 Ohio State (71-70 OT), WIN v. Purdue (79-68):
Penn State ended years of futility against Ohio State with a overtime win over the Buckeyes in Columbus on Wednesday night. The Nittany Lions had lost 18 straight games against the Buckeyes, with Thad Matta holding a 17-0 record against Penn State as Ohio State head coach. D.J. Newbill was the main force behind the Penn State victory, hitting the three-pointer that tied the game to force overtime, as well as the game-winning jumper with two seconds left in overtime. Newbill finished the game with 25 points and eight rebounds against a Buckeye team that led by as many as 11 in the second half. For a more in-depth look back at the game Andrew wrote a full recap once the game was over.
Against Purdue, Penn State fell behind early 14-7, but used a 21-4 run to take control of the game and hold the least throughout the rest of the contest. The Nittany Lions were powered by 19 points from Newbill, 18 points from Tim Frazier, and 15 points from Brandon Taylor. Penn State has now won three straight games, and will try and extend that streak when they travel to Michigan State on Thursday and then hosting Illinois on Sunday.
With two losses last week, Wisconsin's days in the Top-25 might be numbered after sitting inside the Top-5 in January. The Badgers shockingly dropped a game to Northwestern in Madison on Wednesday night, and were dominated for most of the second half by the Wildcats. Wisconsin held a 23-22 halftime lead, but went cold in the second half, trailing 54-39 with 3:30 left in the game. The Badgers were able to close the gap to 62-56, but that was as close as they'd get. Ben Brust was about the only bright spot for Wisconsin in the loss, going for 21 points and swiping five steals in the game.
With Ohio State coming into Saturday's game off a loss to Penn State on Wednesday night, this almost had the feel of an elimination game in the Big Ten for the Buckeyes and Badgers. The result didn't end up in the Badgers' favor, and they can blame the six-plus minutes of the game without a field goal, and they only went 5-10 from the free throw line. Ohio State finished the game on a 11-4 run, and a Sam Dekker missed three-pointer at the buzzer sent Wisconsin to their fifth loss in the last six games. A.J. wrote a recap of Saturday's game if you want to delve deeper into what really went on in Madison. Wisconsin will try and stop their slide when they hit the road to face Illinois on Tuesday before coming back home and hosting Michigan State on Sunday.
#10 Michigan (16-5, 8-1): WIN v. Purdue (75-66), LOSS @ Indiana (63-52):
Michigan started off the week keeping their undefeated Big Ten record intact with a 75-66 win over Purdue in Ann Arbor on Thursday night. The Wolverines were able to withstand the 16 turnovers they committed in the game, mostly due to the efforts of Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, and Derrick Walton Jr. Stauskas finished the game with 16 points while Walton Jr added 14 points and LeVert registered his first double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Purdue had held their last five opponents to less than 42% shooting from the field, but the Wolverines eclipsed that, shooting 61% on Thursday.
The Wolverines couldn't stay undefeated in conference though, falling 63-52 at Indiana on Sunday afternoon. Indiana was able to hold Michigan to their lowest point total of the season in snapping the Wolverines' 10-game winning streak. Walton Jr scored 13 points and LeVert scored 12 points as they were the only Michigan scorers to hit double-figures. Nik Stauskas only was able to score six points in the game, hitting one of the six shots he took from the field. Now Michigan will try to start another winning streak when they host Nebraska on Wednesday before hitting the road to play Iowa on Saturday.
Northwestern (12-11, 5-5): WIN @ #17 Wisconsin (65-56), WIN @ Minnesota (55-54):
Northwestern were road warriors last week, upsetting Wisconsin on Wednesday night before topping Minnesota on Saturday. Drew Crawford scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the victory against Wisconsin. This was the first victory for Northwestern in Madison since 1996 and their first victory overall against Wisconsin since 2009. Northwestern led 54-39 with 3:30 to go, but Wisconsin was able to close the gap to 62-56 before the Wildcats put the final nails in the Badgers' coffin.
With a win over Minnesota on Saturday, Northwestern has now won three straight Big Ten games for the first time in 54 years. Crawford again was the offensive force for Northwestern, scoring 17 points. JerShon Cobb added 15 points as the Wildcats squeaked by. Tre Demps' three-pointer with 55 seconds left broke the tie in the game and turned out to the be the game-winner. Northwestern has used strong defense to put together their recent run of success, holding their last six opponents to 32.5% shooting from the field. The Wildcats will try and make it four in a row when they hit the court in their only game this week against Nebraska on Saturday.
Indiana (14-8, 4-5): LOSS @ Nebraska (60-55), WIN v. #10 Michigan (63-52):
Indiana had a sour start to the week in dropping a game to Nebraska on Thursday night, but they made up for it by handing Michigan their first Big Ten loss of the season on Sunday. The Hoosiers jumped out to a 32-19 halftime lead over Nebraska in Lincoln, but were thoroughly dominated by the Cornhuskers in the second half. Noah Vonleh, who came in as the Big Ten's leading rebounder, was held in check and only able to grab three rebounds to go along with his seven points. Yogi Ferrell gave the Hoosiers 14 points, but it was a little bit below his regular season average. Indiana didn't help their own cause by committing 19 turnovers in the loss.
Ferrell more than made up for not hitting his average on Thursday by scoring 27 points against the Wolverines on Sunday. Ferrell was on fire from distance in front of the home crowd, shooting 7-8 from long range. Vonleh also rebounded from his rough performance on Thursday, registering a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Indiana just outworked Michigan in the game, holding a 31-22 rebounding edge on the Wolverines. Next up for Indiana will be a road contest against Minnesota on Saturday night.
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