Nebraska MBB: Huskers Fall at Hawaii

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Nebraska put four players in double figures, but 18 turnovers proved costly as Nebraska was handed a 66-58 setback in the opening round of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic late Monday.

The Huskers (6-4) erased an 11-point halftime deficit with a 20-6 spurt to open the second half and led 43-40 after a Benny Parker basket with 12:23 remaining, only to see Hawaii turn the tide defensively over the next four minutes. The Rainbow Warrior forced four turnovers in an 8-0 run to take a 48-43 lead after an Aaron Valdes dunk.

The teams traded the lead back and forth until the final 3:10 when Hawaii, which was just 2-of-16 from long range in the opening 36 minutes, hit two clutch shots to take the lead for good.

With the scored knotted at 53, Garrett Nevels, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, broke the deadlock with a 3-pointer from the wing for only his second basket in 11 shots. On Hawaii’s next possession, Roderick Bobbitt put Hawaii up 59-53 with a tough 3-pointer with 2:04 left.

Hawaii (8-3) was just 4-of-18 from long distance and shot 38 percent, but converted the turnovers in 18 points and had a 12-1 advantage in second-chance points.

Nebraska fought back, as baskets from Terran Petteway and Parker cut the deficit to 59-57 with 53 seconds left. The Huskers were unable to get the stop they needed as Nagus Webster-Chan hit a basket to push the lead back to four with 32 seconds left.

NU was unable to cut the lead to less than four points, as Hawaii went 5-of-6 from the line in the last 30 seconds to preserve the lead.

Petteway led NU with 14 points, while Benny Parker and Shavon Shields added 12 apiece. Walter Pitchford posted his third career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. For Parker, his 12 points was a career high.

The Huskers left point at the line, going 13-of-23 from the foul line, NU’s second-lowest total of the season.

In the first half, the Huskers struggled from the field, shooting just 30 percent from the field and went just 6-of-12 from the foul line, as Hawaii took a 34-23 lead into the locker room. The Rainbow Warriors took advantage of NU’s 11 turnovers, converting them into 12 points to offset shooting just 36 percent from the field themselves.

The Huskers fell behind early, as the Rainbow Warriors scored the first eight points of the contest, as Valdes’ 3-point play just 2:11 into the game put the Huskers in an early hole. Nebraska fought back, using a 10-2 run of its own to take its first lead of the night at 13-12 on a Petteway basket with 12:26 left in the first half.

The Huskers then when into a funk offensively, as Hawaii used a 6-0 spurt to take a 17-13 lead after Isaac Fleming’s free throw with 9:28 left in the half. Nebraska went nearly 5:30 without a field goal, as the Rainbow Warriers pushed the lead to six at 20-14 before Petteway’s long 3-pointer ended the run.

Nebraska cut the deficit to two points twice in the final six minutes, the last being at 23-21 after a pair of Petteway free throws with 4:43 left, but Hawaii closed the half on an 11-2 run to take its largest lead of the night into the locker room.

The Huskers came out quickly in the second half, getting it inside as baskets by Petteway and Rivers cut the lead to seven just 1:07 into the half and forced a Hawaii timeout.

Nebraska continued to battle, cutting the deficit to 36-33 on a driving basket by Parker with 16:14 left before Pitchford came through with some big shots. The 6-foot-10 junior hit a pair of 3-pointers, the second giving Nebraska a 41-40 lead with 13:07 left before Parker’s basket put NU up by three, its largest lead of the evening.

Nebraska will play Loyola Marymount Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. (central) on ESPNU and the Husker Sports Network.

Postgame Notes
*-Nebraska falls to 2-7 all-time against Hawaii
*-Walter Pitchford posted his first double-double of the season and third of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Pitchford had double-figures rebounds in consecutive outings for the first time in his career.
*-Benny Parker finished with a career-high 12 points, topping his previous best of nine set on two previous occasions.
*-Nebraska falls to 37-3 when leading with 5:00 left under Tim Miles
*-Nebraska falls to 38-7 under Miles when out-shooting an opponent