Jan. 4 Big Ten Hoops Roundup
That was exciting! The season’s first BTN Super Wednesday doubleheader, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, came down to the final second in both games. In the first one, Meyers Leonard swatted away a shot to seal Illinois’ win over Northwestern (recap). And in the nightcap, Iowa denied Minnesota on the final possession (recap). Catch up on all the action on our Big Ten scoreboard and view our Super Wednesday schedule.
Also, get stats, recaps and video highlights in this post. Speaking of highlights, watch Leonard’s game-sealing block now and check out Rodney Williams’ powerful putback. Leonard had a big dunk himself, too. Watch it here.
FINAL: Northwestern could not find its touch from the field or the line in a 57-56 defeat to Illinois on Wednesday at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston. Northwestern (11-4) shot 61 percent (11-of-18) from the charity stripe and 36 percent (20-of-55) from the field. Even in defeat, John Shurna came through for the Wildcats with 20 points and seven rebounds. Brandon Paul’s free throw gave Illinois (13-3) a eight-point lead with 1:44 remaining, but it nearly threw that advantage away. Joseph Bertrand sparked the Fighting Illini, as he scored 10 points and corralled eight rebounds in the win. Illinois also got double-digit contributions from Meyers Leonard, who scored 12 points and Paul, who scored 10 points. Reggie Hearn was 3-of-5 from the floor and chipped in eight points for Northwestern.
HALFTIME: John Shurna scored 17 points for Northwestern in the first half to carry the Wildcats to a 36-31 lead over Illinois. Each team took a turn in the driver’s seat as the lead changed hands five times. Northwestern got points from seven different players. The Fighting Illini moved the ball in the first half, accounting for nine assists on 12 field goals. Illinois’ Nnanna Egwu had a big first half, with nine points.
FINAL: Matt Gatens scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Iowa to a 64-62 win over Minnesota on Wednesday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. When the second frame got underway, Iowa (10-6) took control of the game. Trailing 36-31 with 18:08 in the game, the Hawkeyes went on a 15-4 run to seize a six-point advantage early in the second half. Minnesota (12-4) had a rough night from the free throw line, shooting 60 percent (6-of-10). Iowa nearly blew the eight-point lead that Roy Devyn Marble gave them on a field goal with 59 seconds to go. The Hawkeyes shot 14-of-24 from the free throw line. Iowa was tough on the offensive boards, grabbing 12. The Hawkeyes also got double-digit efforts from Zach McCabe, who had 12 and Aaron White, who had 10 points. Rodney Williams contributed 11 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and shot 5-of-8 from the field for the Golden Gophers in the game. Ralph Sampson III had a quality shooting game, nailing 6-of-8 shots from the field and scoring 12 points. Ball movement led to 16 assists on their 26 baskets for Minnesota. The Golden Gophers gave themselves second chances during the game, snatching 11 offensive rebounds. Minnesota also got a double-digit contribution from Julian Welch, who scored 14 points.
HALFTIME: Iowa pulled closer to Minnesota going into the break thanks to a 10-0 run late in the half and now trails the Golden Gophers 32-31. Things could be worse for the Hawkeyes as Minnesota led by as many as 11 in the first. The long-distance game has been bottled up and the Golden Gophers might be better served by bringing the ball inside more as Minnesota shot 68 percent (13-of-19) on two-point shots, but 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. The Golden Gophers moved the ball in the first half, accounting for nine assists on 14 field goals. Eight Minnesota players scored in the half. Iowa shot 4-of-9 from beyond the arc in the first half (44 percent). The Hawkeyes applied the pressure in the first half, earning second-chance opportunities with seven offensive rebounds, to just three for Minnesota. Rodney Williams is putting together a nice game so far for the Golden Gophers. The junior has seven points. Matt Gatens led the way for Iowa in the first half, with six points and five rebounds.
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