Huskers Can’t Hold 14 Point Halftime Lead, Fall In Big Ten Tourney Opener

Trey McGowens had 13 points and four assists, while Thorir Thorbarnarson and Kobe Webster had 12 apiece, but Penn State rallied from 14 points down to end the Huskers season with a 72-66 victory in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament Wednesday evening in Indianapolis.

The game was tied at 59 following a pair of Derrick Walker free throws with 3:48 left, but the Nittany Loons ran off seven straight points to take a seven-point lead with 1:20 remaining. NU had held PSU to just one field goal for a seven-minute span before Myles Dread’s 3-pointer with 2:48 left made it 63-59.

Nebraska cut the deficit to 66-62 on a McGowen’s 3-point play with 1:09 left, but Izaiah Brockington putback with 36 seconds left stretched the margin back out to six, and Penn State closed the game out at the line. Brockington, who finished with 14 points, had two of Penn State’s field goals in the final 10 minutes and both game on offensive rebounds.as the Nittany Lions had a 43-27 advantage on the glass.

Jamari Wheeler led four Penn State (11-13) players with 19 points, as the Nittany Lions shot just 36 percent from the field, but went 23-of-29 from the line, including 20-of-24 in the final 20 minutest overcome a 37-23 halftime deficit.

Nebraska (7-20) put together a strong first half, shooting 47 percent, including six 3-pointers in leading by as many as 15 in the first half. NU used a 12-0 spurt, as McGowens and Thorbjarnarson combined for all 12 points as the Huskers build a 20-8 lead.

NU later had another 7-0 run to take its largest lead of the game at 33-18 after a Derrick Walker basket. Walker finished with eight points, seven rebounds and a career-high six assists.

Thorbjarnarson had nine first-half points, including three of the Huskers six first-half 3-pointers.

Penn State clawed back into the game the opening minutes of the second half, scoring the first 10 points as part of a 15-2 run to pull within 39-28 after a Wheeler basket with 14:46 remaining.

Nebraska led 50-47 after a Webster 3-pointer with 11:22 left, but the Nittany Lions, who got into the bonus in the first seven minutes of the half, ran off six straight points at the line to regain the lead at 53-50. Dalano Banton then kept the Huskers in the game with seven straight points for the Big Red, the last being a 3-point play to knot the score at 57 with 6:26 remaining.

Nebraska Postgame Notes vs. Penn State
*-Nebraska falls to 5-10 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament and falls to 0-3 all-time against Penn State.
*-Nebraska hit nine 3-pointers tonight and finished the season with 228 on the season. It ranks sixth in school history.
*-Nebraska held Penn State to 35.6 percent shooting, the eighth opponent NU held to 40 percent or less since returning from its pause of Feb. 6
*-Thorir Thorbjarnarson finished with a season-high 12 points, topping his previous high of 10 against Minnesota on Feb. 27.
*-Derrick Walker dished out a team-high six assists, doubling his previous best of three against Illinois on Feb. 12.
*-Kobe Webster finished in double figures for the fourth time in five games with 12 points.
*-The 23 first-half points Nebraska allowed was its 2nd-lowest of 2020-21 (21 vs. North Dakota State)
*-Trey McGowens tied his season high with three steals, as Nebraska had eight on the evening
*-Nebraska shot a 81.8 percent from the line, the third straight game NU shot 75 percent or better to end the season
*-Penn State tied or set NU opponent bests in both free throws made (23) and attempted. Illinois went 22-of-29 on Feb. 25.

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