While a blizzard rolled into Lincoln, Nebraska and No. 15 Purdue faced off at Pinnacle Bank Arena early Saturday afternoon. The matchup was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. CT, but the Huskers and Boilermakers opted to move the game up two hours due to the forecast.
Nebraska wasn’t able to get the win from Purdue, falling 75-72. It was another one of those games for the Huskers where there were some bright spots, but not enough to overcome the deficits.
Here are three takes from the result.
Feels Kind of (Sort of?) Similar
Nebraska last faced Purdue on Saturday, Feb. 9. The Huskers entered Mackey Arena that night on a six game skid. They’d leave with it at seven.
While the Huskers lost 81-62 that night, the final score hardly told the whole story. Nebraska showed some fight against Purdue on Feb. 9, which Derek Peterson talked about in his three takeaways. Two weeks later, it feels like a similar story in some ways.
Nebraska showed fight against Purdue again on Saturday. The Huskers led by 4 at one point in the first half (the largest lead Nebraska had during the game). It just wasn’t enough to overcome the Boilermakers.
The biggest difference in this meeting is that Purdue never delivered the knockout blow to Nebraska like it did in the first meeting. That one was competitive for about 25 minutes before the Boilermakers took control and ran away with it. The Huskers remained competitive (mostly) from start to finish in this one.
So, sure. This one kind of feels similar in some ways to that Feb. 9 meeting. Nebraska was able to hang around longer, which is a positive. It just ultimately wasn’t enough for the Huskers to walk away with the win.
One Step Forward, Two Back
Speaking of Nebraska’s ability to hang with a team like Purdue, Saturday highlighted something that’s plagued the Huskers all along: For every positive, there are more negatives.
For instance, Nebraska was 50 percent on 3-point shooting (6-of-12) by the end of the first half. Considering the Huskers were avergaing five made 3s over the last handful of games, it was a pretty impressive start from Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The downside? Half of Nebraksa’s 36 points in the first half were from the 3-point line. That was going to be tough to maintain, which panned out. Nebraska was 2-of-11 from the 3-point line in the second half, shooting 18.2 percent. And then to top it off, Nebraska actually out-shot Purdue for most of the game. Issue was that the Boilermakers were taking more shots all-around.
And then there’s the rebounding issue (which we’ll get to in a second). While Nebraska was up 10-3 in second-chance points in the first half, Purdue was up 13-2 in the second half.
Those type of inconsistencies have plagued Nebraska in Big Ten play, and they continuted to against Purdue on Saturday.
Rebound, Rebound, Rebound
Nebrask had 30 rebounds against Purdue. The Boilermakers had 48.
Not to make it any more painful but let’s just look at the second half. Purdue had 31 rebounds, while Nebraska had 12. Ouch.
There were points in the game when Purdue would get chance after chance after chance at shots because of offensive rebounding. In one case, Nebraska couldn’t get the rebound in any of Purdue’s attempts and it was eventually kicked out for a Boilermaker 3-pointer.
Rebounds have been an issue for Nebraska all season. So much so, when I didn’t mention it as a takeaway a few weeks back, I was (rightfully) asked about it many times on Twitter and Facebook. So here’s me owning that. Rebounding is an issue for Nebraska, and that continued against Purdue.
Bonus: It didn’t necessarily feel like its own takeaway, mostly because of everything else worth talking about but it’s still worth noting. Glynn Watson ended the day with 25 points, a season high. It was his first 20-point Big Ten game since Jan. 2018. He had 21 points in the loss to Penn State on Jan. 12, 2018.
Double bonus: This has nothing to do with the outcome of the game, but former Husker and current New England Patriot Rex Burkhead was at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday. He handled the t-shirt cannon during first half timeout and the crowd went wild.
Next game for Nebraska is at Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 28. Tip is set for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.