(Video of Minnesota F Rodney Williams Jr's 360 dunk courtesy of Gopher Athletics)
News and notes from around the Big Ten:
- The Buckeyes won their third straight blowout on Wednesday night, defeating Savannah State, in its second-year of Division I play, 85-45. Ohio State has won the last three games by an average of 33.6 points so Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch finally asked, what good are these lopsided routs doing for either school? Buckeyes coach That Matta said: “It's [about] getting guys to be who they are, and being consistent with their role on the team and taking great pride in that.” Finding their role is something these Buckeyes have been struggling with as they've jumped from games against low-level Division I teams to elite programs like Duke (Nov. 28) or Kansas (Dec. 22). The Buckeyes host UNC-Asheville on Saturday.
- Wisconsin F Ryan Evans had been mired in a 1-for-12 free-throw slump coming into Wednesday night's game against Green Bay, but he hit his first two attempts from the line and sparked the Badgers to the home win, 65-54. “I think the crowd really got us going after I hit my two free throws,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As ridiculous as that sounds, he wasn't lying. The Badgers flipped a three-point deficit into a four-point halftime lead with a 9-2 run over the final five minutes, following Evans' free throws. Evans had a team-high 13 points and led the Badgers with seven rebounds as well. Wisconsin was without F Mike Bruesewitz for the second consecutive game because of a concussion.
- Former Michigan State star and current Golden State Warrior rookie Draymond Green made the game-winning layup on Wednesday to beat the defending champion Miami Heat. Green, one of the savviest college players under coach Tom Izzo, took advantage of a miscommunication between Miami's Ray Allen and Shane Battier and rolled to the basket where guard Jarrett Jack found Green for the shot with two seconds left. “He played hard, it was great competition out there between me and him,” Miami's LeBron James told the Associated Press. “I've also respected, especially in college, a big-time player and no one really gave him a shot, but you can tell he knows how to play the game.”
- The Gophers (11-1) got a huge performance from F Trevor Mbakwe on Tuesday night, as he grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds to help down North Dakota State, 70-57. Despite coming off the bench, Mbakwe played 21 minutes and dominated in the front-court with fellow F Rodney Williams Jr. For the second consecutive game, Mbakwe played the majority of the game with the starting unit. “I think whether he's starting or coming off the bench, it doesn't really matter,” coach Tubby Smith told the Star Tribune. “He's really developing, he's very patient in the post. He's learning to do other things, develop other phases, other than sheer power.” Paired with Mbakwe, Williams Jr. led the Gophers with 19 points and stole the show with a breakaway, 360-dunk.
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.