Latest Team Rankings
Free Rivals Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
January 30, 2014
Huskers keep on rolling, top Hoosiers 60-55
Technically, Nebraska's 60-55 win over Indiana on Thursday night wasn't an upset, but that didn't take any of the magnitude out of the victory for the Huskers.
Coming into the game as a one-point favorite - mostly because of NU's notable home-court advantage - Nebraska overcame a brutal start to the game and a 13-point halftime deficit to pick up its third Big Ten Conference win in four games. When all was said and done, the Huskers (11-9 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) outscored IU 41-23 in the second half while shooting a blistering 52.4 percent from the field and hitting 6-of-11 from 3-point range after halftime. The win gave the Huskers their first consecutive league victories since they joined the Big Ten in 2011.
"After the last two nights, it would appear that, what - Psalm 37? Right? 'The meek shall inherit the Earth. The first shall be last and the last shall be first,'" head coach Tim Miles said. "That kind of feels like the Big Ten right now, doesn't it? The other line that we use is if you're going to get down, get down early."
"Ugly" was about the only way to describe the first half for either team, as turnovers, bad shots and all-around sloppy play dominated the opening 20 minutes of the game. Nebraska took a quick 7-2 lead on five early points by sophomore forward Walter Pitchford, but Indiana (13-8, 3-5) came storming back with a 12-0 run with the help of five scoreless minutes for the Huskers.
A 3-pointer by senior guard Ray Gallegos and a basket by sophomore wing Terran Petteway brought NU to within a point at 15-14, as the Hoosiers suddenly went through an offensive drought of their own by going more than seven minutes without a field goal. That would change in a hurry moments later, though.
Consecutive banked-in 3-pointers by Yogi Ferrell and Stanford Robinson sparked a 15-0 scoring run for Indiana that would push its lead to as much as 32-16 with two minutes left in the half. An And-1 by Petteway helped stop the bleeding, but the Huskers still went into halftime down double-digits, 32-19.
"That really affected us," Miles said. "You just can't let those things that are out of your control affect you. Then we were just kind of getting our butts kicked. They were on the attack, we weren't, and then you go in down 32-19. We were lucky it was that close."
Nebraska (11) and Indiana (12) combined for 23 turnovers in the first half, but the Hooisers dominated the low post with a 20-8 rebounding advantage and out-scored NU 14-8 in the paint. Ferrell scored 11 of his team-high 14 points in the first half, as IU ended up 48 percent from the field to 34.8 percent by the Huskers.
"He wasn't happy, we'll just say that," sophomore forward Shavon Shields said when asked about Miles' message to the team at halftime. "He wasn't happy."
Whatever Miles told his team in the locker room must have worked, as Nebraska came out looking like an entirely different team in the second half. A 3-pointer by Petteway followed by a rare four-point play by Gallegos brought the Huskers to within four, and then they finally tied it back up at 43-43 on a pair of free throws by freshman point guard Tai Webster with just under nine minutes to play. Freshman guard Nathan Hawkins, who hadn't played the previous two games, then came up with his first points since December with a 3-pointer, and Shields knocked down two free throws to give NU its first lead since the 16:20 mark in the first half at 48-46.
Pitchford followed that up with a 3-pointer to make it an 8-0 run and put Nebraska up 51-46 with 6:03 remaining. Indiana's Will Sheehey answered with four straight free throws to bring it back to one, but a 3 by Petteway two minutes later put NU up by its biggest margin of the night at 56-50 with just 2:04 to go.
"We were really on the attack more in the second half," Petteway said. "I mean, the first half, you look at it and we weren't on the attack like we should've been. It was just like Penn State. They kept throwing a lot of different defenses at us and we kind of stopped attacking. In the second half we kind of got our composure back and started attacking, and that's when we went on our run."
The Huskers could have made life a lot easier on themselves had they done a better job at the free throw line from then on, but they made just four of their next eight shots from the charity stripe and allowed the Hoosiers to cut the lead to 58-55 on a 3-pointer by Ferrell with 46.6 left. That would be as close as IU would get, though, as Nebraska's defense clamped down and Shields and Pitchford both made free throws in the final seconds to put the victory away for good.
Petteway led NU once again with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, while Shields (11), Pitchford (11) and Gallegos (10) all scored in double figures as well. After losing its first four Big Ten games of the season, Nebraska has rallied back to put itself in position to make a run not only at its highest conference tournament seed in years, but potentially an NIT or even NCAA Tournament berth. For the Huskers, though, Thursday night's victory was just yet another step in building the program into a serious contender in the league.
"It's a big step, and we just need to keep building and staying with the process and keep staying together," Petteway said. "When we came together, we got stops, when we were moving the ball on offense and got on the attack, we were pretty good. We just need to build off that."