Time and again, Nebraska got right to the rim for easy baskets off of drives. Tim Miles’ squad shot 44.7 percent and hit 12-of-17 free throws. Conversely, Purdue shot 40 percent and hit just 7-of-14 free throws. That basically was the difference in a close game. The Huskers had a two-point halftime lead that they pushed to 11 at one point in the second half.
Devyn Marble scored 19 points to help Iowa hold on for an important 73-59 victory over Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday night. Mike Gesell added 11 points, including a clinching three-point play with 1:41 left as the Hawkeyes (21-11) continued their late-season push for a spot in the NCAA tournament with their eighth victory in 10 games.
Shavon Shields scored 19 points, Brandon Ubel added 16 points and eight rebounds and Nebraska beat Purdue 57-55 Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Cornhuskers (15-17) hung on after Purdue’s Terone Johnson missed two shots in the closing seconds and will meet No. 10 Ohio State in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Michigan’s win over Penn State on Thursday in the opening round of the Big Ten tourney sets up an enticing No.4-No.5 quarterfinal matchup Friday at the United Center. The fifth-seeded Wolverines will battle No. 4 Wisconsin, and everyone remembers what happened the lone time these two teams met during the regular season. If not, watch this highlight. The Badgers went on to win in overtime.
Penn State stunned Michigan in State College (84-78) and gave them a tight game (79-71) in Ann Arbor. But there would be no nail-biting for Michigan in this meeting. The Wolverines trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and led by just two points at halftime. But Michigan broke open the game in the second half, shooting 33 percent from three-point range (6-of-18) for the game and hitting 19 free throws to Penn State’s five over 40 minutes.
The Fighting Illini didn’t shoot well (32 percent) but forced 19 turnovers and had 21 points off of those turnovers. Early foul trouble for Minnesota big man Trevor Mbakwe helped Illinois, as the sixth-year senior had just eight points and played only 27 minutes. The Gophers have now lost three in a row but still appear to be a lock for the NCAA tourney.