It was an old fashioned shoot out at the OK Corral...err...Pinnacle Bank Arena. With each team without a key member of their rotation, this one took on a bit of a different tone than it would have had it been played a week prior. Instead the Huskers Terran Petteway and Minnesota's Malik Smith went shot for shot for 40 minutes. And on this day, Petteway, behind his career high 35 points lead the Huskers to a 82-78 win.
Coming off a disappointing effort Thursday night vs. Penn State, the Huskers started the game at a blistering pace. They hit four of their first five shots to jump out to a 10-3 lead before watching Minnesota battle back to take a 13-12 lead on a dunk by Chadron native Elliott Eliason. It would be Minnesota's only lead of the game.
After the brief deficit, the Huskers led the rest of the way. The first half was a back and forth affair. Though NU led the entire time, they never were able to get a lead of more than six points. Minnesota was led by Malik Smith, who started for the first time in place of the Gophers leading scorer Andre Hollins, who missed the game after spraining an ankle in their previous game vs. Wisconsin. Smith almost singlehandedly kept Minnesota within striking distance in the first half as he blistered the nets with 18 first half points.
The second half, however, was a different story. The Huskers slowed down Smith and again started the half with a flurry, turning up the defensive pressure disrupting the Gophers offensive game plan to fuel a 12-3 run and push the lead as high as 15 points.
The Huskers seemed to have the game in hand with a 72-62 lead with 1:30 remaining after a pair of free throws from Petteway. Minnesota turned to the ‘ole hack-a-Husker strategy to finish the game. It nearly worked as the Huskers missed four of their 14 attempts and the Gophers converted their offensive possessions on the other end. Minnesota got the game tight again, all the way down to a two point margin with only 2.7 seconds left. Petteway converted his final two free throws to cap off his 35-point night and clinch the game.
With the win, the Huskers move to 2-5 in conference play and host Indiana Thursday night, looking for their third conference win and second consecutive win in conference play, something they have not done since joining the Big Ten. The 82 points scored were most for Nebraska in a conference game since joining the conference. Petteway's 35 points were also the most points scored by any player in conference play so far this season and the most points scored by a Husker since Aleks Maric tallied 36 vs. Iowa State in 2007.