Sunday, November 17, 2013

Big Ten Basketball Weekend Roundup

While Michigan fans were busy sweating out a triple overtime victory against Northwestern, several Big Ten basketball squads were in action yesterday, all four scoring victories of varying significance. Of course, the Wolverines face off against Iowa State later today in Ames.

Here's what happened around the Big Ten yesterday:

No. 20 Wisconsin 69, Green Bay 66

The Badgers jumped on US-151 yesterday and headed for Ashwaubenon, Wis., where they faced the Green Bay Phoenix of the Horizon League.

Bo Ryan's squad went down 15-9 early, but the Badgers pulled into the half with a 34-29 lead after averaging 1.14 points per possession. Sam Dekker led UW in the first half with eight points on 4-of-6 from the field. Josh Gasser bounced back from a scoreless Florida outing to put up seven points in the first half.

The Phoenix not only hung around in the second half, they owned a 4-point lead with just over 10 minutes left to play. Green Bay guard Keifer Sykes killed the Badgers all game, finishing the night with 32 points.

However, a 10-0 run by the Badgers put them up 60-54 with six minutes left to play, a lead they would not relinquish. Frank Kaminsky, not known for his play down low, came up big late in the game with several big baskets from the post. Kaminsky logged a double-double on the night (16 points, 11 rebounds).

Possibly Kaminsky's biggest play of the game came with four seconds remaining and the Badgers up 68-66. After Traevon Jackson split a pair of free throws, UW-GB had the chance to tie or take the lead. Sykes drove hard to the rim, but Kaminsky helped, swatted the shot and corraled the rebound. Kaminsky went on to also split a pair of free throws at the other end, giving Sykes once last chance at a desperation three.

The shot at the buzzer landed just off the mark, allowing the Badgers to escape with a victory that was probably much closer than they expected it to be. UW-Green Bay will be a team to watch in the Horizon League going forward (and come March Madness, should they make the field).

No. 10 Ohio State 52, No. 17 Marquette 35 

The football team was busy notching its 22nd victory in a row, a 60-35 victory at Illinois. Meanwhile, the basketball team notched a victory with a nearly identical score, which should be a pretty solid indicator of the type of basketball team Thad Matta has this year. They'll have to find more scoring as the year goes on, but that defense is nasty. 

Marquette shot an abysmal 18.9% from the field. Shannon Scott and Aaro Craft led the Buckeyes with 13 and 10 points, respectively; F Sam Thompson pitched in 13 from the bench. LaQuinton Ross, however, who had himself a nice tournament run this past March, went 0-of-6 from the field and scored zero points. 

It wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing game of all time, but a win against a ranked Marquette team, in Milwaukee, will likely end up a quality victory come tournament time. 

Penn State 83, Penn 71

The Nittany Lions lost the second half by 11 points; luckily for them, they went into halftime up by 23. In case you didn't already know, Tim Frazier is back: he scored 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Frazier also added seven assists, but did cough up six turnovers. 

Penn State is now 2-1 on the season. 

Minnesota 74, Richmond 59

Richard Pitino's Minnesota squad also hit the road on Saturday, traveling to Richmond's Robins Center. The Gophers jumped out to an early 12-0 lead but went into the half up just 40-37. 

From there, the game was fairly even for the first 13 minutes or so of the second half. The Spiders went up 59-55 with 7:25 to play, but the Gophers surged ahead with a 19-0 run to close the game. Andre Hollins paced the Gophers with 26 points; Austin Hollins, Malik Smith and Joey King also cracked double-digits. 

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