Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, January 18, 2015
Another week of Big Ten hoops is in the books, and BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart takes a look at some of the best from the third week of conference play.
Biggest surprise: Iowa. The Hawkeyes look like a legit threat in the Big Ten, remaining tied in the loss column atop the Big Ten after posting wins at Minnesota and vs. Ohio State this week. This is a talented team with veteran talent that is learning how to win close games. Could the Hawkeyes win the program?s first regular-season title since 1979?
Biggest disappointment: Michigan State. The Spartans arrived in College Park, Maryland, riding a three-game winning streak and looking to assert their muscle as a Big Ten contender. Alas, The Terrapins hammered Michigan State, 75-59, to seal the season sweep. In fact, MSU?s last defeat before this game was to the Terps, who took a double-overtime decision in East Lansing on Dec. 30.
Top stat line: Penn State?s D.J. Newbill was on fire vs. Purdue, hitting 13-of-23 shots (57 percent) and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line in notching 37 points. He also added three rebounds and four assists. It wasn't enough for the winless Nittany Lions, who still fell in overtime at home, 84-77.
Top moment: Iowa?s Jarrod Uthoff hit a monster game-winning shot in the waning seconds at Minnesota on Tuesday to deliver a 77-75 Hawkeyes? victory. It was the Hawkeyes? third true road victory of the season.
Play this again: Iowa 77, Minnesota 75. The Gophers rallied from a 17-point halftime and took a brief lead before Iowa answered and sealed the win on the aforementioned Uthoff bucket in the closing seconds.
Never play this again: Ohio State 71, Michigan 52. This one didn't look much like a rivalry game, as the Buckeyes led big from start to finish.
Top dunk: Jake Layman, from the top of the arc, drives and soars for the two-handed throwdown vs. fellow Big Ten newbie Rutgers.
Top pass: This Jaylon Tate airborne transition pass to Malcolm Hill took awareness, strength, athleticism and precision. And, he was right on the money.
Top pass Part II: It didn't result in a bucket, but this left-handed pass by D'Angelo Russell was something to see.
Indiana. The Hoosiers are overcoming a lack of size with quickness and offensive efficiency, staying in the thick of the Big Ten race with one conference loss. Tom Crean?s crew has won three games in a row. The only Big Ten loss has been at Michigan State.
Minnesota. ?Lindy?s? preseason hoop mag picked the Gophers to finish fourth in the Big Ten coming off an NIT title in Richard Pitino?s debut season. Minnesota has work to do if it hopes to reach that goal, opening Big Ten play 0-5. At least the Gophers ended the week by notching their first league win by taking down Rutgers on Saturday in Williams Arena.
Purdue?s Kendall Stephens notched 22 points, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to force overtime at Penn State on Saturday. The Boilermakers pulled out the victory, 84-77, as Stephens hit 6-of-12 3-pointers. This was the Boilermakers' first true road win since Jan. 15, 2014.
Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky scored 22 points in his return from a concussion that sidelined him a game to help No. 7 Wisconsin beat Nebraska 70-55 on Thursday night. Kaminsky was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and 7-of-11 overall after missing the Badgers? loss at Rutgers on Jan. 11.
Iowa?s Jarrod Uthoff. He drilled a pull-up jumper with 3.5 seconds left on Tuesday to lift the Hawkeyes to a big 77-75 win at Minnesota, scoring 16 of his career-high 22 points in the second half. Iowa held on after a desperation last-second layup by DeAndre Mathieu failed to beat the buzzer after the Gophers had erased a 17-point second-half deficit.
Ohio State's D?Angelo Russell helped crush Michigan by notching 21 points in a 71-52 victory on Tuesday; he also scored 27 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for his first career double-double in a loss Saturday at Iowa.
Maryland's Melo Trimble scored 21 of his 24 points in the first half, and No. 14 Maryland whipped Michigan State, 75-59, Saturday to sweep the season series and gain sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
Indiana's Troy Williams averaged 18 points and 6.5 rebounds, all while shooting 68 percent, in a home win vs. Penn State and a road victory at Illinois. His clutch putback (watch below) gave the Hoosiers the late lead at Illinois.
Indiana's Robert Johnson tallied 20 points in a 76-73 win on Tuesday vs. Penn State, which saw a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final moments waved off after crawling out of a 12-point hole.
Illinois? Kendrick Nunn had a career-high 25 points, including four straight free throws in the final 7.5 seconds, as Illinois held off Northwestern on Wednesday night. In Sunday's loss vs. Indiana, the sophomore hit a career-high six 3-pointers and scored 24 points.
Iowa?s Aaron White scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half — including 12 straight during a key stretch — to lead Iowa to a 76-67 win over Ohio State on Saturday.
Penn State?s D.J. Newbill tallied 37 points, but the Nittany Lions still fell in overtime at home, 84-77, to Purdue on Saturday. It was the most points by a Penn State player since Bob Weiss in 1965.
Minnesota?s Andre Hollins scored a season-high 31 points on 7-for-10 shooting from 3-point range, a much-needed breakout game for the senior and his struggling team that sparked Minnesota to an 89-80 victory over Rutgers on Saturday, the first Big Ten triumph for the Golden Gophers.
Michigan star Caris LeVert will miss the rest of the season due to a left foot injury suffered in Saturday night's win over Northwestern. LeVert, who will undergo surgery this upcoming week, had an operation on the same foot last May.
Devin Davis, the Indiana player who sustained a serious brain injury Nov. 1, was back on the bench Tuesday. After most of the last 2 1/2 months rehabbing in his hometown of Indianapolis, Davis re-enrolled for the second semester, which began Monday, and was back on the bench – in street clothes – for the Penn State game and traveled with the team to Illinois.
Penn State played this week without backup guard John Johnson, who was suspended indefinitely for conduct inconsistent with team standards. Johnson was averaging 7.4 points in just over 20 minutes.
Indiana starting forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea will be out indefinitely after injuring his right knee in practice this week, coach Tom Crean announced last week. Mosquera-Perea was replaced in the lineup by sophomore Collin Hartman.
Ohio State?s Amir Williams had scored only 19 points in the first four Big Ten games before getting 10 against the Wolverines on Tuesday. He also contributed five rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes.
The Gophers lost four of their first five Big Ten games by five points or fewer.
Rutgers lost at No. 14 Maryland on Wednesday after beating No. 4 Wisconsin on Sunday. The Scarlet Knights were seeking consecutive wins over ranked opponents for only the third time in school history. The last time Rutgers beat a ranked team on the road was a 77-64 win at No. 13 Pittsburgh in January 2008.
Before the Purdue defeat, Penn State's previous three losses were by four (Rutgers), nine (Michigan) and three (Indiana). The Nittany Lions have been in five one-possession games and won four of them. They also have had eight games decided by five points or fewer and won the first six.
"Great win. That's what I've been waiting for. I don't think we've played our best basketball recently, and our guys stepped up and really played well." – Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, after the Terps? convincing home win vs. Michigan State on Saturday.
"We're kind of a calm bunch. We're not an overly emotional group. We don't typically rattle. We had to fight on those last four minutes. I'm really proud of how we did that." – Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey, after a narrow win at Minnesota
"Nothing's going our way." – Minnesota guard DeAndre Mathieu, after the late home loss to Iowa.
"Fortunately for us, we're learning how to win close games. It's not always pretty, but you don't get rewards for pretty. You get rewards for winning and you get rewards for winning enough." – Indiana coach Tom Crean, after a potentially tying 3-pointer by Penn State was waved off by the officials and confirmed by a replay review.
"It was huge, especially with me taking a bad shot just before. It was probably the biggest shot of my career so far." – Purdue?s Kendall Stephens, after hitting a game-tying 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left at Penn State to force overtime.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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