Nebraska’s skid continued on Thursday night as the Huskers fell to Northwestern for the second time in five games, losing 73-61 in Evanston.
The Huskers (9-11, 3-5) struggled to get anything going offensively outside of a short stretch during the first half, shooting 36.5 percent from the field, 20 percent from the 3-point line and 63.2 percent from the free-throw line and scoring just 61 points on 72 shooting possessions (factoring in both field goals and shooting fouls drawn).
Nebraska struck first on a bucket by senior guard Tai Webster, but Northwestern took over from there, building up a 12-4 lead. Nebraska methodically began working its way into the game, outscoring Northwestern 18-8 over the next 10:13 to take a 22-20 lead.
Northwestern’s Dererk Pardon converted a three-point play to put the Wildcats back up by one and Northwestern never trailed again. Northwestern pulled ahead by six, but a 3-pointer by sophomore forward Jack McVeigh made it 32-29 Northwestern at the half.
Northwestern struck first in the second half with a layup by junior wing Vic Law, but Webster and Glynn Watson Jr. both scored to pull Nebraska within one. A layup by Pardon and a 3-pointer by point guard Bryant McIntosh put Northwestern up six and the lead see-sawed between four and eight over the next 10 minutes until the wheels fell off for Nebraska.
The Wildcats reeled off a 14-3 run to pull ahead 73-54 with 1:17 to go, sealing the game. Nebraska scored the final seven points of the game, but it was far too little and far too late to make a difference.
Nebraska had no answer for Pardon or Law. Pardon, a 6-foot-8 sophomore center, went off for 19 points and 22 rebounds, while Law showed off his skill from the perimeter and his athleticism around the basket on his way to a team-high 20 points. Nebraska held Northwestern’s leading scorer Scottie Lindsey to five points on 2-of-8 shooting, but it did not matter.
Webster led the Huskers with 23 points, but he shot 9-of-23 from the field and dished out three assists to three turnovers. Watson was the only other Husker in double figures with 14 points and five assists, but he shot 5-of-15 from the field. Nebraska got just nine points from its other three starters. Freshman center Jordy Tshimanga matched his Big Ten high with seven points and four rebounds, but he was limited to just nine minutes, committing four fouls and turning the ball over four times.
The loss dropped Nebraska into an eight-way tie for eighth place in the Big Ten at 3-5. Northwestern improves to 6-2, tied with Purdue and just behind Wisconsin and Maryland at 6-1.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.