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Nebrasketball: Copeland’s Absence Noticeable in 62-51 Loss to Wisconsin

Nebraska’s first game since Isaac Copeland’s injury and they could not rally behind it.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no question this team isn’t the same without Isaac Copeland, but with a roster that still boasts players like James Palmer Jr., Glynn Watson Jr., and Isaiah Roby, Nebraska can still succeed. See below if they could get a momentum changing win at home against Wisconsin.

Tanner Borchardt started in place of Copeland, giving the Huskers a boost in rebounding, but a drop in offensive production. That drop was very noticeable from the U16 media timeout to the U8.

For seven minutes, Nebraska scored one point, a free throw from Borchardt, that shouldn't have even happened, but did because of a Wisconsin lane violation. You could call that somewhat of a momentum shift, because the Nebraska went on a 9-3 run after the made free throw, cutting Wisconsin’s lead to eight (24-16).

Nebraska and Roby cut the lead down all the way to five, with Roby capping the run with a thunderdunk:

Outside of a JPJ free throw and a Brevin Pritzl three, there was no other scoring, but some fouls that were horribly missed by the refs. Wisconsin led 28-21 at halftime.

So halftime started...and the Roby party began. After a JPJ three, Roby hit an open three, drew Wisconsin’s other big man Nate Reuvers third foul, and hit a scoop and-one layup against Ethan Happ. After the U16 media timeout, Roby then assisted Watson on a breakaway for an and-one, with Watson converting and extending their run to 9-0, giving the Huskers their first lead (35-32) since the 15:00 mark of first half.

Nebraska kept that lead into the U12 media timeout thanks to Borchardt, fighting for an offensive rebound over four Wisconsin players and kicking it out to Thomas Allen for a three, making the lead 40-37 Nebraska. The next possession Borchardt grabbed another offensive rebound, getting fouled in the process to send the game to the commercial timeout.

Happ came back in the game and immediately gave Wisconsin back the lead with his passing, finding open men on back-to-back double teams by Nebraska, one a wide open three and the other a dunk. The Badgers extended their lead to 48-42 heading into the U8 media timeout.

Continuing off of that, Wisconsin moved to a nine point lead at a 5:00 Tim Miles timeout, forcing a 3:13 scoring drought for the Huskers. Not to mention Borchardt, their offensive rebounding machine, fouled out with six minutes left after attempting to take a charge. Outside of foul trouble, Borchardt did everything you could've hoped for tonight.

Unfortunately Borchardt’s fouling out led to Nebraska’s inevitable doom. Brad Davison made an and-one on that foul, and the energy was immediately sucked from PBA.

Overall it was encouraging to see the Huskers fight against a tough Wisconsin team, but this team isn’t the same without Copeland. With Cope, Nebraska wins this game. The team knows that, but can’t dwell on that. They have to move forward and somehow salvage a season that was ruined in the worst possible way.

Final Score: Nebraska 51 Wisconsin 62