A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015:
The Illini struggled early, missing a boatload of shots, and blew an 11-point halftime lead, allowing a 14-0 second-half run to go from up 10 to down four. The teams took turns taking leads before a Jalen Coleman-Lands 3 with four and a half minutes left gave the Illini a lead, and they didn’t trail again thanks to nine points from Malcolm Hill over the final four minutes. Illinois shot 60 percent in the second half and got 22 points from Hill and 15 from Coleman-Lands. The win put the Illini above .500 for the first time this season.
Indiana 105, McNeese State 60
The Hoosiers scored 50-plus in both halves, cruising past the Cowboys with a 51.3-percent to 31.7 percent shooting advantage. Indiana made 13 3-pointers, while McNeese State was just 4-for-22. James Blackmon Jr. made five of them himself, scoring a game-high 24 points. Thomas Bryant was a rebound shy of a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds. Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell and Max Bielfeldt were all in double figures, too.
Maryland 77, Maryland-Eastern Shore 56
The Terps led by just six at the half but opened the second half on a 19-6 run and cruised from there. Maryland shot 51.1 percent on the game and went 21-for-24 from the free-throw line. Melo Trimble and Jared Nickens each hit four 3-pointers, Trimble finishing with 18 points and Nickens with 12. Diamond Stones added 12 points off the bench, and Rasheed Sulaimon had 10 assists.
[MORE BIG TEN: Northwestern improves to 8-1 after pounding Chicago State]
Michigan 80, Delaware State 33
Playing for the first time since Spike Albrecht announced his retirement, Michigan rolled past Delaware State, allowing just 18 points in the first half and only 15 in the second half. The Wolverines shot 52.5 percent from the field, while the Hornets shot just 24 percent. Six Michigan players scored in double figures: Caris LeVert (15), Zak Irvin (12), Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (11), Duncan Robinson (11), Ricky Doyle (10) and Kameron Chatman (10).
Michigan State 58, Florida 52
The Spartans held a modest lead most of the first half, a 6-0 Gators run tying the game at one point, and it was just two points at halftime. Things stayed close, and Florida took its first lead of the game thanks to a 7-0 run. But Michigan State clamped down on defense, Florida scoring just five points in the final seven minutes. A Matt Costello bucket inside of seven minutes to play gave the Spartans the lead for good as they closed the game on a 12-5 run. Both teams shot horrendously: Michigan State at 36.8 percent and Florida at 33.3 percent. Denzel Valentine had 17 points, and Bryn Forbes had 12. The two combined to go 4-for-18 from 3.
Oklahoma State 62, Minnesota 60
It was a closely contested game throughout, just a two-point Minnesota advantage at halftime, but Oklahoma State created a small bit of breathing room with a 16-4 run early in the second half. The Gophers chipped the lead down to two in the game’s late stages but couldn’t string together stops and makes, Carlos Morris missing a 3 with 16 seconds left that would’ve given his team the lead. Minnesota shot just 34.5 percent from the field, going 4-for-22 from 3 and missing nine free throws.
[MORE BIG TEN: Illini sweat out win over UIC to move above .500]
Connecticut 75, Ohio State 55
The Buckeyes are back under .500 after getting crushed by UConn. Ohio State shot just 35.7 percent, while UConn shot a dazzling 60.4 percent from the field. The Buckeyes actually outscored the Huskies in the second half, but a 21-point halftime deficit meant no chance at a comeback. Jae’Sean Tate and Marc Loving each scored in double figures, combining for 29 points.
Penn State 54, Louisiana Monroe 50
Neither team scored 30 in either half in this low-scoring affair. Penn State shot just 32.7 percent and went just 3-for-20 from 3-point range. But the Nittany Lions went on an 11-4 run over a four-minute span late in the game and clung to their lead down the stretch to hold on. The Lions were outshot, out-rebounded by 16 and missed 10 free throws, but the Warhawks turned the ball over 18 times. Brandon Taylor had 16 points for Penn State, and Payton Banks had 10.
Purdue 95, Youngstown State 64
Another rout for the Boilermakers, who improved to 11-0 with the win. Purdue shot 55 percent from the field — assisting on 26 of its 33 made baskets — and held Youngstown State to just 34.8-percent shooting. A.J. Hammons had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds (also blocking three shots), while Caleb Swanigan also had 15 points, Isaac Haas had 13 points and Rapheal Davis had 13 points, hitting a trio of 3-pointers.
[MORE BIG TEN: Illini finally over .500, but rocky start to season continues]
George Washington 83, Rutgers 49
Rutgers got crushed, outscored in the first half by 22 points. The Knights were limited to just 34-percent shooting and turned the ball over a jaw-dropping 22 times as the Colonials had an incredible 18 steals. Bishop Daniels and Mike Williams were the lone Rutgers representatives in double figures, Daniels scoring 12 off the bench and Williams totaling 11 points.
Marquette 57, Wisconsin 55
Marquette led by as many as 14 in the second half before a 12-4 Wisconsin run sliced that down to four. Four minutes later, a Bronson Koenig triple got the margin down to two, and a Vitto Brown bucket tied the game at 53 with a minute and a half to play. Marquette took a two-point lead with 27 seconds left before Nigel Hayes missed a pair of shots and the Badgers couldn’t corral a rebound on a missed free throw. Marquette shot 52.2 percent on the game. Zak Showalter had a double-double for Wisconsin, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Brown finished with a team-high 15 points as the Badgers lost on their home floor for the third time this season.
[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Spartans gear right here]
A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015:
Nebraska 70, Rhode Island 67
The Huskers trailed by 11 in the first half and by nine with eight and a half minutes to go. But a 9-2 run cut that margin down to a basket, and the game was tied a couple minutes later. The Rams took a two-point lead with three minutes left, but a Benny Parker 3 with 1:14 to go gave the Huskers a 67-65 lead they didn’t relinquish. Nebraska shot 51.2 percent from the field and made 20 free throws, getting 19 points form Shavon Shields and 17 from Glynn Watson Jr.
The Cats closed the first half on a 15-2 run, creating all the distance they needed in this blowout. Northwestern allowed just 13 first-half points, only 20 in the second half, shooting 51.8 percent on the night and hitting 15 3-pointers. Tre Demps had 23 points with five made 3s, and Nathan Taphorn scored 11 points. Northwestern is one of just four Big Ten teams with one or fewer losses on the season.