Nebraska drops Big Ten home opener

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Story courtesy: NU Media Relations


Lincoln – The Nebraska basketball team erased a 16-point deficit, but could not complete the comeback, as the Huskers lost a hard-fought battle to Indiana, 70-65, in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams on New Year’s Eve inside Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Nebraska (8-5 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) scored seven of the game’s first nine points, only to see Indiana (11-3, 1-0) respond with a 17-3 run. The Hoosiers led 36-20 with five minutes remaining in the first half before the Huskers made their move.

NU closed the first half on a 12-4 run and trailed 40-32 at the break after Terran Petteway nailed a late 3-pointer to cut the lead to single digits. The Huskers then opened the second half on a 14-2 run, capped by a Walter Pitchford 3-pointer that gave Nebraska a 46-42 lead with 15:28 remaining.

In turning a 16-point deficit into a four-point lead, Nebraska outscored Indiana 26-6 over a nine-minute stretch to end the first half and begin the second period. Despite the momentum, the Huskers’ lead would be short lived.

Indiana regained the lead at 49-48 and with the score tied 49-49, the Hoosiers used a 12-3 run to go on top 61-52 after a Johnson 3-pointer with 7:37 remaining. Indiana stretched its lead to 13 on a layup by Hanner Mosquera-Perea with 4:19 on the clock. 

That would prove to be the Hoosiers’ final basket, as Nebraska held Indiana to only three free throws the rest of the way. The Huskers got as close as 67-64 following a pair of David Rivers free throws with 1:05 remaining, but a pair of potential defensive rebounds were lost out of bounds down the stretch, ending Nebraska’s comeback hopes.

Petteway had a game-high 23 points for Nebraska, while Shavon Shield added 20 points. The duo each notched 20 points in the same game for the sixth time in their careers and for just the second time in a conference game. Pitchford added 11 points, hitting 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Robert Johnson led three Hoosiers in double figures with 14 points, while Mosquera-Perea tied his career high with 12 points and posted a double-double by adding 10 rebounds.

Nebraska will look to even its Big Ten record on Monday, when the Huskers travel to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.