Fred Hoiberg said on Tuesday that Nebraska could play well and still lose to No. 5 Iowa by 20 points. The Huskers did not play well on Thursday night and lost by nearly twice that as the Hawkeyes hit 16 3s in a 102-64 rout at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Three days after their best performance of the season, the Huskers suffered their largest margin of defeat, topping the 36-point blowout at Ohio State.
Iowa senior Jordan Bohannon hit a career-high eight 3-pointers and finished with 26 points to lead the Hawkeyes. Star center Luke Garza attempted a season-low eight field goals, but that had more to do with the score than Nebraska’s defense as he scored all 14 of his points in the first half.
Iowa shot 51.4% from the field including 37.5% from deep. Of Iowa’s 102 points, 48 came from the 3-point line, 40 came in the paint and 10 came from the free-throw line.
“Our lack of urgency on the defensive ends was the thing that was so disappointing to me,” Hoiberg said. “Just time after time they were comfortable coming down. We weren’t communicating, we weren’t getting matched up properly. Defensively we played probably our best game of the year against Rutgers … and then tonight was our worst.”
Nebraska shot 33.8% from the field including 33.3% from 3. Kobe Webster led the way with 17 points in his third straight start while Lat Mayen recorded his first double-double with 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. The two combined to shoot 9-of-16 from 3, but the rest of the team was just 3-of-20. Dalano Banton chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Two keys for Nebraska heading in were cold shooting from Iowa and Derrick Walker staying out of our trouble. The Huskers didn’t get lucky on either front.
Walker picked up his second foul less than three minutes into the game and sat the rest of the first half. Iowa missed its first three 3-point attempts then hit five of its next 10 as the Hawkeyes raced out a 23-9 lead.
“We talked at length about the importance of getting off to a good start against this team,” Hoiberg said. “It’s a team that if you don’t play well, they can embarrass you and that’s exactly what happened tonight.”
Nebraska was all out of sorts offensively with minimal ball movement, bad shots and careless turnovers. Iowa pushed the lead to 16 with a transition layup from Patrick McCaffery, drawing a timeout from Hoiberg.
The Huskers ran a play out of the break to get Mayen an open look from 3 and he buried it. Joe Wieskamp answered with a 3 on the other end, but Mayen’s triple breathed some life into he team as the Huskers hit their next three shots to cut the deficit to nine at 32-23.
It was all Hawkeyes the rest of the night, however, as Iowa hit Nebraska with an 11-0 run over the next two minutes. Banton interrupted the run with a 3, but Iowa scored the last five points to take a 48-26 lead at halftime.
Bohannon and Garza combined to outscore Nebraska by themselves with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Banton hit some tough shots off the bench and led the way for Nebraska with nine points, but he also had four turnovers.
Iowa shot 50% from the field and hit nine 3s. Nebraska made 10 shots total, shooting 32.3% from the field including 4-of-16 from 3 and turning the ball over 12 times.
Mayen opened the second half with a 3, but that was as close as the Huskers got the rest of the night as the Hawkeyes used an 11-2 run to push the lead to 30 before the second media timeout.
Iowa continued to pull away after McCaffrey turned to his bench as the lead swelled to 39 on a bucket by freshman Josh Ogundele with 90 seconds to go.
Bohannon knocked down three more 3s in the second half while redshirt freshman Patrick McCaffrey scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the second to give him 19 for the game. Garza only attempted one shot in the second half as Iowa continued to fire away from deep.
The loss locked Nebraska into the No. 14 seed at next week’s Big Ten Tournament, but first Nebraska will close out the regular season at Northwestern on Sunday.
“Obviously we’ll go watch film and try to clean up everything, bring a different mentality coming into next game,” Webster said. “We don’t really have time to sulk. We haven’t really had any time to dwell on any of our games just because of our schedule. So we’ll definitely watch film, like I said, talk about it a little bit, but we have to be ready for our next game so we can go into the Big Ten tournament with some momentum.”
Tipoff is set for 12:30 p.m. CT on Big Ten Network.
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.