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Nebrasketball: Tough Offensive Day Leads to 72-66 Loss Against Illinois

After winning six straight, the Huskers fell short against the Fightning Illini.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskers came into today’s game 20-8 on the season and 11-4 in conference play. This game was close to a must win.

After an Isaac Copeland three right off the bat, the Huskers went cold and the fighting Illini heated up, going on an 11-0 run to take the 11-3 lead.

Thankfully Isaiah Roby came to out ready to play, scoring seven straight points and grabbing two boards to cut the lead 13-10.

The scoring from both teams kept on coming after the U16 media timeout, mainly coming from Leron Black for Illinois.

At the U8 media timeout, Black had 17 points on 7/8 shooting from the field, going 3/3 from behind the arc. Black doesn’t typically shoot as many threes, but of course he makes his first three attempts against Nebraska.

Luckily Black would pick up his second foul and Roby would continue to go off. Roby would also make his first three threes, with his third cutting the Illinois lead to four at the U4 media timeout, the score being 35-31 Illinois.

Somehow the Huskers were only down by seven at the half, with the score 43-36. It seemed like Illinois couldn’t miss in the first half, making two shot clock expiring threes, one which the player shot it with one hand.

Coming out of halftime Tim Miles did something he hasn’t done all conference season, run the 2-3 zone defense. And it worked.

Illinois didn’t score for the first two and a half minutes or so, and only scored off of it because of an offensive rebound that went right to Leron Black.

Illinois’s scoring drought would continue, only scoring four points throughout the first nine minutes of play. Unfortunately Nebraska didn’t capitalize as much as they could have, only leading 52-47 at the U12 media timeout.

The scoring drought finally ended when Jordy Tshimanga made back to back baskets, including an and one alley oop layup courtesy of Evan Taylor.

However, as soon as Roby came back in, he picked up his fourth “foul” and had to come back out. The Huskers trailed by one at the U4 media timeout.

The Huskers never regained the lead at that point, losing for the first time since January 22nd....

While Illinois did make their shots at the clutch moments, watching that entire game Nebraska played awful offensively. In the second half alone, the Huskers went on two different five minute scoring droughts.

For a team that needed to win so badly to keep their NCAA tournament hopes, this loss may be the most upsetting along with the Kansas game. The Huskers finish out the season with two home games against Indiana and Penn State....