After dodging a bullet earlier in the week, No. 10 Michigan State couldn't overcome a slew of mistakes on Saturday, and lost to Northwestern 64-62 in East Lansing, falling out of first place in the Big Ten after its first league loss of the season.
The Spartans (14-3, 5-1 in the Big Ten) played poorly most of the game, and let Northwestern (9-6, 2-4 in the Big Ten) control things despite being without leading scorer Pete Nance, who was out win an ankle injury. Michigan State had 17 turnovers, got outrebounded by the undermanned Wildcats 40-35 and made just 6-of-21 three-point attempts, many down the stretch where they couldn't get all the way back against a Northwestern team that they had beaten easily just two weeks ago in Evanston, Ill.
Michigan State had a chance to tie late, getting a gift call from the officials on an inbounds pass. Spartans center Marcus Bingham Jr. was fouled with 0.7 seconds to play, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free-throw situation, and Northwestern hung on.
That ended a nine-game win streak for No. 10-ranked Michigan State, and it snapped Northwestern's eight-game losing streak in East Lansing. It was Northwestern's best win of the season, by far, and ended a four-game losing streak
“The last couple weeks were disappointing, but today, hopefully, can be a positive momentum builder,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “We matched their physicality and toughness, which was a big key in winning. This was a really important win for us after what we've been through here, feeling like we were on the doorstep in three of those four games.
"There’s 14 games left, and you’ve got to take them one by one. You’re judged by what you do at the end of 20 (Big Ten games), not by the end of six games.”
Ryan Young, a 6-foot-10 junior from Stewartsville, N.J., subbed for Nance up front, led the Wildcats with 18 points. Chase Audige had 14 points for Northwestern and Boo Buie added 12.
Joey Marble II led Michigan State with 18 points off the bench. Michigan State's five starters scored a total of just 25 points and were just 9-for-30 shooting.
Rutgers 70, Maryland 59
Rutgers rode a huge second-half rally to steal a road win at Maryland, knocking off the Terrapins thanks to a 31-point effort from Ron Harper, Jr.
The Scarlet Knights (10-6, 4-2 in the Big Ten) gave up a 10-0 late in the first half to fall behind by 11 in College Park, Md., but then did the same thing during the middle of the second half, taking the lead after a 10-0 run that featured two Harper three-pointers put Rutgers ahead 49-45.
Fatts Russell scored for Maryland (9-8, 1-5 in Big Ten) with 3:22 to go, tying the game at 55-55. But Rutgers finished them off with a 15-4 run, fueled again by Harper, who hit another three and 5-of-6 free throws.
Harper is now shooting a crazy 64.7% from behind the arc (22-for-34) through six Big Ten games and 47.0% for the season. In Rutgers’ four Big Ten wins, Harper Jr. is averaging 27.5 points on 61.4% shooting and 70.3% from three (19 of 27).
“I love it,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “People keep doubting this group. It’s good. We just keep grinding. These guys are good, they’re tough and they want to win. It’s just a tough league to win in.”
This week's schedule, results
- Penn State at No. 16 Ohio State, Noon ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
- Iowa at Minnesota, 2 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
- Northwestern 64, No. 10 Michigan State 62
- Rutgers 70, Maryland 59
- No. 7 Purdue 92, Nebraska 65
- No. 25 Illinois 68, Michigan 53
- No. 13 Wisconsin 78, No. 16 Ohio State 68
- Iowa 83, Indiana 74
- No. 10 Michigan State 71, Minnesota 69
- Maryland 94, Northwestern 87
- Wednesday's Big Ten roundup, CLICK HERE
- Illinois 81, Nebraska 71
- Penn State 66, Rutgers 49
- Purdue at Michigan, ppd.
- Tuesday's Big Ten roundup, CLICK HERE
Big Ten Standings
Next week's schedule
Monday's games (Jan. 17)
- No. 7 Purdue at No. 25 Illinois, Noon ET (TV: FOX)
- Indiana at Nebraska, 6 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
Tuesday's games (Jan. 18)
- Maryland at Michigan, 7 p.m. ET (TV: ESPN2)
- IUPUI at No. 16 Ohio State, 7 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
- No. 13 Wisconsin at Northwestern, 9 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
Wednesday's games (Jan. 19)
- Minnesota at Penn State, 6:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
- Iowa at Rutgers, 8:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
Thursday's games (Jan. 20)
- No. 7 Purdue at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET (TV: FOX Sports 1)
Friday's games (Jan. 21)
- No. 25 Illinois at Maryland, 7 p.m. ET (TV: FOX Sports 1)
- No. 10 Michigan State at No. 13 Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (TV: FOX Sports 1)
Saturday's games (Jan. 22)
- Rutgers at Minnesota, Noon ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
- Nebraska at No. 16 Ohio State, TBD
- Penn State at Iowa, TBD
Sunday's games (Jan. 23)
- Northwestern at No. 7 Purdue, Noon ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
- Michigan at Indiana, TBD