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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 2/16/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - Feb. 16-19

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Big Ten. Big News.

  • Four Big Ten Players have been named to the 2024 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Men’s College POY Midseason Team, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Thursday. Michigan State’s Tyson Walker, Northwestern’s Boo Buie, and Purdue’s Zach Edey and Braden Smith were listed among the award’s 30 nationally selected players. The list of 30 will be whittled down to 10 finalists on March 15, with the winner announced on April 7.

  • MILESTONE WATCH... Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is on a short countdown to coaching his 1,000th career game. With eight more games on the Michigan State bench, Izzo will join a club that included just 12 active coaches at the beginning of the season.

  • Five teams earned mention in this week’s AP and USA Today Coaches Polls, announced on Monday. Purdue held steady at No. 2, while Illinois slid to No. 14 in both polls after its loss to Michigan State. Two losses last week sent Wisconsin down to No. 20 in the AP and No. 21 in the coaches poll. Michigan State and Northwestern also received recognition in both polls.

  • Rutgers’ Jeremiah Williams was named Big Ten Player of the Week, presented by Air National Guard, for the week of Feb. 5-11.  Williams averaged 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in leading the Scarlet Knights to a pair of wins last week. The redshirt junior guard led all scorers with 18 points to go with seven assists and five boards in an 78-56 upset of then-No. 11 Wisconsin. He also paired 14 points, including the eventual game-winning basket, and five rebounds in Rutgers’ 56-53 victory at Maryland.

  • Iowa’s Owen Freeman claimed his eighth Freshman of the Week honor, after averaging 13.0 points on 64.7 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocked shots, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals last week, as the Hawkeyes split a pair contests. Freeman shot 7-13 for 17 points, a season-best 14 rebounds, four blocked shots and four assists, as Iowa erased a 20-point second half deficit in its 90-85 win against Minnesota. He also paired nine points on 4-4 shooting, five rebounds, and a pair of steals in an 89-79 loss at Penn State.

  • Associate Head Coach Jake Diebler has been named interim head coach at Ohio State. Diebler has been on the Buckeyes’ staff for eight years, including three as an assistant coach before being named associate head coach in 2022. Diebler has also made coaching stops at his alma mater, Valparaiso, and Vanderbilt. A native of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Diebler is the all-time leading scorer in Ohio High School basketball history (3,208) and holds the all-time Ohio high school career records in both assists (835) and steals (578). At Valpo, Diebler finished in the Horizon League’s top 10 in minutes, three-pointers made, and steals as a senior, while earning conference academic honors and a place on the NABC Honors Court.

Recent Game Recaps

 Illinois 97, Michigan 68 (Tuesday, February 13)

Four Illini players scored in double figures and the home team trailed for only 10 seconds, as No. 14 Illinois completed a season sweep of Michigan with a 97-68 victory. The win marked the eighth consecutive Illinois victory over the Wolverines, the third longest win streak in the series. Leading 31-27 with 4:09 left in the first half, the Illini went on a 22-2 run over the next five minutes spanning the first and second halves to break the game open. Terrence Shannon Sr. scored 14 of his game-high 31 points during the run. Coleman Hawkins paired 17 points, five rebounds, five assists, and a pair of blocked shots, while Marcus Domask and Quincy Guerrier combined for 23 points. Terrance Williams II led the Wolverines with 17 points, while Tarris Reed Jr. and Olivia Nkamhoua added 13 points each.

Wisconsin 62, Ohio State 52 (Tuesday, February 13)

Steven Crowl and AJ Storr posted double-doubles, as Wisconsin snapped its four-game losing streak with a 62-54 win over Ohio State. Crowl paired 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Storr added 14 points and 12 boards in the Badgers’ victory. Trailing 50-37 with 11:34 to play, the buckeyes went on an 8-0 run, pulling to within five points on Devin Royal’s lay-up with 9:49 to play, but a Checky Hepburn three stopped the run and put the Badgers back up eight. Wisconsin then turned to its defense, holding Ohio State to just one field goal over the next eight plus minutes to seal the win. Bruce Thornton led the Buckeyes with 18 points, while Roddy Gayle Jr. and Evan Mahaffey added 10 points each. 

Michigan State 80, Penn State 72 (Wednesday, February 14)

Malik Hall scored 20 of his career-high 29 points in the second half, as Michigan State scored an 80-72 win over Penn State. Hall shot 10-13 from the floor and 8-8 from the charity stripe and secured 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. After trailing in the game’s early minutes, the Spartans used a 14-3 run to seize control of the game and never looked back. Michigan State built a 45-31 halftime lead on the strength of 16 first half points from Jaden Akins, who finished the game with 20 points. Three Nittany Lions scored in double figures, led by Ace Baldwin Jr., who paired 15 points and seven assists. Zach Hicks also tallied 15 points, one more than Nick Kern.

Maryland 78, Iowa 66 (Thursday, February 14)

The Terps outscored Iowa 47-29 in the second half, including a 28-10, and held Iowa to just two points over the final 3:21 to earn a 78-66 victory on Wednesday. The win game Maryland its first ever season sweep over the Hawkeyes, with both games featuring the Terps overcoming double-digit deficits. Maryland shot 57.1 percent (12-21) from the floor in the second half and converted 24-29 from the free throw line, including 9-12 in the game’s final 100 seconds, while holding the Hawkeyes to just 37.5 percent (12-32) shooting, including 1-9 from three point range after the halftime break. Julian Reese paired 16 points and 13 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season, while DeShawn Harris-Smith scored a career best 17 points off the bench. Jahmir Young led all scorers with 21 points. Payton Sandfort paired 19 points and five rebounds to lead the Hawkeyes, while Ben Krikke scored 11 points.

Rutgers 63, Northwestern 60 (Thursday, February 15)

Aundre Hyatt’s three broke a 58-58 tie with 56 seconds to play before Jeremiah Williams’ sealed the victory, as Rutgers topped Northwestern 63-60 for its fourth consecutive victory. After trailing for most of the game and down 51-44 midway through the second half, the Scarlet Knights used a 12-0 spurt to take a 56-51 lead after Derek Simpson’s jumper at the 3:41 mark. The Wildcats battled back, leveling the score at 58 on a Brooks Barnhizer triple, but Simpson found Hyatt on the ensuing possession to put Rutgers ahead for good. Williams led the Scarlet Knights with 15 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three blocked shots, while Hyatt finished with 10 points and six boards. Clifford Omoruyi added nine points, nine rebounds, three steals and five blocked shots in the win. Boo Buie paced the Wildcats with 27 points, while Barnhizer paired 11 points and 14 boards. 

Purdue 84, Minnesota 70 (Thursday, February 15)

The Boilermakers overcame a 10-point second half deficit to earn an 84-76 win over Minnesota. The Gophers trailed by 11 points just over four minutes into the action but rebounded on the strength of 9-16 three-point shooting before the halftime break. Minnesota used a 19-3 run to build a 43-35 halftime lead. Minnesota’s advantage swelled to 10 points on the first possession of the second half before the Boilermakers slowly chipped away at its deficit. Purdue used a 15-1 run to regain control of the game and take a 63-55 lead on a pair of Lance Jones free throws midway through the second half.  A pair of Elijah Hawkins free throws pulled Minnesota to within 73-71 with 4:16 to play, but Purdue’s defense held Minnesota to just two field goals over the game’s final four minutes. Zach Edey led Purdue with 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Braden Smith paired 16 points, eight boards and nine assists. Dawson Garcia paced the Gophers with 24 points, as Mike Mitchell Jr. and Cam Christie combined for 27 points.