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Big Ten Basketball: The Weekend That Was

Holy hell Nebraska where has that been?

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Creighton
Look at me. Look at me. This is my conference now.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Friday, December 2nd

#22 Maryland 71, #16 Illinois 66

MaximumSam: We promised you fun in this game, and that was what we got. The Xfinity Center was rocking, and the students were throwing crap at the Illinois bench, and the teams put on a great show. Maryland had the lead for much of the game, but the Illini tied it up with minutes left. Fortunately for the Terps, Jahmir Young is a Dude, and they got this.

Young looked ready to go from the jump, and his emergence means Maryland has four really good starters. No shame in Illinois losing on the road in this game, though it continues the struggles of Matthew Mayer, who has really not shot the ball well. Even though he’s a transfer, you would expect something better than 2 points from the fifth year senior.

BoilerUp89: Big win for Maryland here. Maryland led by as many as 12. Illinois was able to tie the game up several times in the 2nd half but never retook the lead.

Although Julian Reese and Donta Scott struggled to score a bit against the Illini’s size, they didn’t get beat on the boards and held their own for the most part defensively. Jahmir Young had 24 points and Hakim Hart had 17.

For the Illini, Hawkins had 16 points in 39 minutes, but despite Terrence Shannon Jr.’s 19 points, his 0/5 from three point range outing spelled doom for the Illini. Overall the team shot just 5 of 20 from behind the arc and that along with their inability to get to the line as often as the Terrapins (8 to 18 FT attempts) was the difference in this close game.

Saturday, December 3rd

Rutgers 63, #10 Indiana 48

MaximumSam: Well, that was demoralizing for Indiana fans. They had looked so much better at finding and making shots, and then they went to the RAC and got clubbed. And that was with Miller Kopp scoring 21 points! Without him, this would have approached Louisville levels of incompetence. Indiana was without Hood-Schifino, who was held out with back pain. The Hoosiers will hope that was the problem, because this performance was a real throwback to some not so good times.

For Rutgers’ part, they had a clear plan to throw everything at TJD. He was held to 13 points on 11 shots. Cliff Omoruyi only played 19 minutes due to foul trouble, and it didn’t matter. Rutgers is yet another tough out this season.

BoilerUp89: The RAC is filled with blood and spiders. Although I’m not surprised Rutgers won, I am surprised that they did so with Omoruyi only playing 19 minutes. The defensive intensity was impressive as Rutgers forced Trayce Jackson-Davis into tough shots (5 of 11 from the field) and outside of letting Miller Kopp get his held the Hoosiers to 9/44 from the field and 1/16 from three.

Derek Simpson contributed 14 points off the bench for the Scarlet Knights and this was the first time Rutgers had both Caleb McConnell and Paul Mulcahy (22 combined points) available all season. Most impressive for Rutgers though was the rebounding margin: they won it 47-33 despite shooting poorly themselves.

Wisconsin 80, Marquette 77 (OT)

MaximumSam: The Chucky Hepburn tour continues. After being pretty ineffective early in the season, Hepburn had another good game, scoring 19 on 10 shots with no turnovers. The Badgers are starting to get contributions from everyone, which they needed, because once again a guard torched them, this time Kam Jones. He dropped 26 on 12 shots, and both teams shot an EFG of about 60%. The game was a battle to the end, with Max Klesmit getting the final shot.

#25 Ohio State 96, St. Francis (PA) 59

MaximumSam: This was actually fairly competitive for a half, as the Buckeyes looked a bit sloppy on defense. Not so much the second half.

Sunday, December 4th

#19 Kentucky 73, Michigan 69

MaximumSam: Michigan once again hung tough against a good team but folded down the stretch. Dickinson and Tschiebwe battled to a stalemate, but (again) not much was happening outside of Jett Howard. Kobe Bufkin did score 11, but took 10 shots. Another bad note was Jaelin Llewellyn going down with a knee injury - his status going forward is unclear, but the point guard situation not great.

BoilerUp89: Dickinson outscored Tschiebwe but needed 22 shots to get his 23 points while Tshiebwe took just 10 shots to score 13. All 5 Kentucky starters were in double figures as the Wildcats shot 60% from three while outrebounding Michigan by 13. Kentucky’s poor free throw shooting and turnovers kept this one closer than the rest of the stats would indicate.

Northwestern 70, #20 Michigan State 63

MaximumSam: That’s a damaging loss for Michigan State, who has quickly undone a lot of their great start with back to back losses, and this one was at home. I thought Sparty’s backcourt would take over late, and for a bit it looked like A.J. Hoggard would do just that. To their credit, Northwestern adjusted and closed out the game. The ‘Cats have a clear formula for winning, and there are enough teams that struggle to shoot in the conference that you can see them finding some more tough wins.

BoilerUp89: Is Malik Hall a more important cog for the Spartans than we realized? Since getting injured, the Spartans have lost 3 of 5 games (and looked bad in wins over Oregon and Portland). Offensively everything has been a struggle for Michigan State lately. There just isn’t anybody they can reliably go to when they need a bucket.

Northwestern made a living at the free throw line (21 of 24) and Boo Buie continued his personal war against Michigan State with 20 points. In his career against the Spartans Buie has now scored 26, 5, 30, 12, 12, and 20. His career average is 13.8.

Nebraska 63, #7 Creighton 53

BoilerUp89: Huge victory for Nebraska - arguably the best non-conference win so far of the season for a B1G team this year (Indiana and Illinois still have opportunities to top it, but Creighton looked really good in Maui). If you are looking for why Creighton lost, the easy answer is that they shot too many three pointers: 40 in were attempted by the Bluejays who made just 10 of them. In addition to not giving Creighton good looks at the rim, Nebraska also won the rebounding battle by 5, forced Creighton into 16 turnovers, and made life difficult for forwards Ryan Kalkbrenner (5 of 8 from the field) and Arthur Kaluma (0 of 8 from the field).

Seniors Sam Griesel and Derrick Walker lead the Cornhuskers in scoring with 18 and 22 respectively. Griesel grew up in Lincoln watching Nebraska lose to Creighton regularly.

With Northwestern and Nebraska both winning, it marked the first time ever both won road games against top 25 teams on the same day.

MaximumSam: I proclaimed that Nebraska would not lose a game to a team from Nebraska, and by God that had nothing to do with me forgetting they played Creighton. What matters is that I was right. All hail Nebrasketball.

Purdue 89, Minnesota 70

BoilerUp89: Zach Edey had 31 and 22. A double-double in the first half and a double-double in the second half. He single handedly outrebounded the entirety of the Gophers squad and if you are into that sort of thing has been the KenPom MVP of the game for every single Purdue game this season.

Fletcher Loyer added 20 points while Brandon Newman chipped in 13. Caleb Furst got the start in place of Mason Gillis who was dealing with a “minor back injury” obtained while weight lifting. No word on how long Gillis will be out. Furst and Kaufman-Renn played well in increased minutes although TKR’s defense is a step behind Gillis’s. From a Purdue fan perspective, I wasn’t super happy with the defense but credit to Minnesota: they made some shots.

Speaking of the Gophers making shots, Jamison Battle had 21 points on 8 of 17 shooting including 5 of 10 from three. Talon Cooper had 15 on 6 of 9 shooting and and 3 of 4 from three. Outside of those two however, the Gophers were just 1 of 12 from the perimeter. It was a tough night for the post players. Dawson Garcia was limited to 24 minutes as he fouled out and Joshua Ola-Joseph played just 18 as he also had foul trouble but ended the game with 4.