Wins away from your home building do not need to be masterpieces. This one would certainly qualify, though if all you saw was the first half, you might disagree. The Nebraska Cornhusker basketball team ventured outside Pinnacle Bank Arena for the second time this season and found themselves the victors this time.
The Huskers jumped out to a 13-6 lead before FSU would counter, going on an 8-0 run to take a 14-13 lead. NU would take control of the rest of the half with an 18-1 run, using an atypical zone defense to clamp down on the Seminoles who did not hit a jumpshot in the first half. The Huskers took a 37-21 lead into the halftime break.
The drama began shortly into the second half. The Huskers were already having trouble with the Seminoles trip towers as evidenced by both Moses Abraham and Walter Pitchford were saddled with 3 fouls apiece. The difficulty continued as just 1:25 into the second half, Pitchford was whistled for his fourth foul. The Seminoles took advantage of the Huskers tentativeness on offense and mounted a charge of their own. The Noles chipped away, cutting the one time 18 point Husker lead all the way down to 3 at 56-53 with 6:44 left.
Things looked scary for the Huskers at this point, but it was about time for the Husker role players to play a big one in this game. Benny Parker scored the next four points, but FSU responded with four points of their own. Then it was Abraham's turn to step up, as Shavon Shields found him alone under the rim. Two more points, five point lead.
Then things got really scary for the Huskers. Aaron Thomas, FSU's best player who had been battling dehydration the past week took a wayward Terran Petteway pass in for an uncontested layup. After another Petteway turnover, Thomas was fouled by Tai Webster, and hit two free throws. It's a one point game and all of the Husker fans back home were on their last nerve.
David Rivers, step on up. Shields missed a jumper and Rivers battled for the biggest offensive rebound of the game, keeping it alive for Benny Parker, who fed it to Tarin Smith who found Rivers under the rim a few seconds later for the lay-up. Three point lead. FSU failed to convert on their next possession and on the ensuing possession, the freshman Smith found himself wide open in the corner and hit the three for the biggest shot of his short college career, giving the Huskers a six point lead and effectively put the game away.
Now that this game is in the rearview mirror, the Huskers can finally turn their attention the game many have been waiting for for nearly a year. The Creighton Bluejays visit Pinnacle Bank Arena Sunday afternoon for a game that will be certain to have NU looking to avenger the beating they took at the hand of the Jays on that snowy Sunday afternoon last December. Husker fans have been anticipating this rematch since that day and now all that stands in their way is the work week.