While it wasn’t the outcome Penn State fans were hoping for–a pair of losses to Michigan–it’s hard to argue that the inaugural Big Ten Super Saturday hoops and hockey doubleheader at Madison Square Garden was anything but a success.
In the opener, the Nittany Lions fell behind early, but battled back all game to make it closer in the end than the final score would indicate, 79-72, before a Garden crowd of 13,908. After a few hours to change the floor from hardwood to ice, 13,479–many of them the same fans from the hoops contest–filled the arena to watch No. 15 Penn State take a 3-2 lead after two periods. But the sixth-ranked Wolverines stormed back with four unanswered goals in the final period for a 6-3 victory.
The inaugural event was announced as part of the package that will bring the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament to Madison Square Garden in 2018. With the conference now firmly ensconced in the East Coast markets via Rutgers and Maryland, fans can expect more Big Ten action in the World’s Most Famous Arena in the coming years. Ahead of Saturday’s games, Big Ten officials announced the participants for future doubleheaders.
Despite the outcome, Penn State coaches said the unique event was a great experience.
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