Husker basketball season ends with loss in Big Ten Tournament

Nebraska closes its season with a 7-25 record.
Kevin Cross

From: Nebraska Athletics

Nebraska held a 33-27 lead with 4 minutes remaining in the first half, but Indiana responded with a 16-1 run going into halftime and pulled away for an 89-64 victory in the first round of the Big Ten Conference Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Nebraska closes its season with a 7-25 record. Indiana advances to face Penn State in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

Freshman forward Kevin Cross scored a career-high 23 points, going 4-of-9 on 3-pointers, and senior guard Haanif Cheatham added 17 for the Huskers, who played their second straight game with only seven scholarship players. To help with depth, Nebraska football players Noah Vedral and Brant Banks joined the team for the Big Ten Tournament, and both entered with 2:39 remaining and Nebraska trailing by 21. Neither player scored.

After their big run to end the first half, the Hoosiers (20-12) opened with a 15-4 run over the first 4:11 of the second half. They pushed the lead to as many as 21 points with 10:20 remaining before the Huskers mounted a rally.

Cross made a 3-pointer that ended an 11-0 run and pulled Nebraska within 68-58 with 8:22 remaining, and he hit another 3-pointer to cut the deficit to nine points with 7:41 to play. But that’s as close as the Huskers got, as Indiana pushed its lead to its final margin of 25, ending the game on a 12-0 scoring run.

Nebraska shot just 30 percent from the field overall, including 8-of-30 on 3-pointers, and had 12 shots blocked. Indiana, which had 11 players score, shot 53 percent and outrebounded the Huskers 47-36.

Nebraska made five of its first eight field goal attempts of the game, including three 3-pointers, and led 14-13 at the first media timeout.

Indiana responded with a 10-2 run for a 23-16 lead, as Nebraska went through a 1-of-8 shooting stretch. But the Huskers rallied, as Thorir Thorbjarnarson fed Cheatham for a layup to put the Huskers ahead 27-26 to cap an 11-3 run with 7:07 remaining in the first half.

Nebraska pushed the lead to six points during a stretch where Indiana went 1-of-11 from the field and went scoreless for 3 minutes.

But the Huskers went through a 1-of-14 shooting stretch and missed their final eight shots of the first half, as Indiana used a 16-1 run over the final 3:52 to take a 43-34 lead into halftime.

Indiana shot 56.3 percent in the first half, compared to Nebraska’s 30.6 percent. The Hoosiers blocked 10 shots in the first half.

Nebraska Post-Game Notes

  • Nebraska made eight 3-pointers in tonight’s game, finishing the 2019-20 season with 253 threes, the third-highest total in school history. In addition to becoming only the third team in Nebraska history to make 250 3-pointers, the Huskers’ average of 7.91 3-pointers per game ranked second in program history behind only the 2001-02 squad (9.54).
  • The Huskers went 14-of-20 at the free throw line tonight. Nebraska ended the year by making 76.9 percent of its free throws over the season’s final three games (40-of-52).
  • Kevin Cross led Nebraska with a career-high 23 points, as he became the first Husker freshman to have a 20-point game in the Big Ten Tournament. Cross, who finished with nine double-figure scoring games in his freshman season, also pulled down a career-high nine rebounds to lead Nebraska in both scoring and rebounds in his Big Ten Tournament debut.
  • Haanif Cheatham scored 17 points in his final game, his team-leading 24th game in double figures this season.
  • Although he did not make a 3-pointer against Indiana, Thorir Thorbjarnarson made 48 3-pointers this season, which tied for the 10th-highest total by a junior in school history.
  • Jervay Green scored 15 points, finishing in double figures for the second straight game and 10th time this season. Green also tied his career high with eight rebounds, the third time this season he pulled down eight boards.
  • Yvan Ouedraogo grabbed two rebounds in tonight’s game. He finished the season with 203 rebounds, the most ever by a Nebraska freshman. Ouedraogo led Nebraska with 6.3 rebounds per game in 2019-20, becoming just the third Husker freshman to lead the team in rebounding (also Aleks Maric [6.3 in 2005-06) and John Turek [6.2, 2001-02]).
Categories: Husker Sports, Sports