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Nebrasketball: Huskers Pull off Miraculous Comeback in Regular Season Finale

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Desperate threes and hard-fought scrums showed us fight from the Huskers and Tim Miles we were missing all season.

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

It’s the “No-Sit Sunday” anniversary in Lincoln today, where the .500 Nebraska Cornhuskers are visited by the Iowa Hawkeyes, who come in with a 21-9 record. The final regular season game for Tim Miles and company this season (and possibly ever) is also Fran McCaffery’s return from a two-game suspension. Huskers came in one-point favorites with a 66 percent chance to win according to BPI.

Isaiah Roby wore number 14 for Isaac Copeland, a senior who was lost to an ACL injury earlier in the season.

The game started with a Tanner Borchardt offensive rebound and putback, but he was immediately trumped by a Hawkeye three. Through those first three minute, Iowa hit three three-pointers, while James Palmer Jr. was shooting 0-3. Amir Harris, meanwhile, had himself four points and two rebounds.

At the U16 timeout, we saw Nebraska doing something we hadn’t all year: grabbing offensive rebounds. Borchardt alone had three of the four offensive boards for the Huskers. Unfortunately, they still trailed by five, 13-8.

As two and a half minutes went by, the Huskers could not find a bucket until Glynn Watson Jr. canned a three with 13 minutes to go. A huge sequence by Roby, a blck, followed by an alley-oop slam assisted by Harris, was quickly silenced by a bouncy three-pointer from Jordan Bohannon. Roby answered with a finger-roll layup next time down to keep the lead at five for Iowa with ten minute to go.

A quick eight to two run fueled by six points from Palmer Jr. gave the Huskers their first lead with seven and a half minutes left, 23-22. The Hawkeyes would soon regain the lead behind Luke Garza’s four points in a five-point Hawkeye run. Huskers took a timeout with just under five minutes to go, but were unable to get the ball in when play resumed.

Roby hit a three-pointer a minute later to tie the game at 28 a piece. Tyler Cook’s first points in the last two games take us into the U4 timeout. Two minutes later, Bohannon hit a three and Garza went for an and-one to fuel a seven-nothing Iowa run. A dunk for the Hawks with ten seconds left put Iowa up nine.

Luckily, a Roby stepback prayer from three made the lead six heading into half. Huskers were down 37-31. He had 12 of the Huskers 31 points. This was Iowa’s first halftime lead in the last eight games.

To start the second half, Bohannon hit yet another triple to put the Hawks up nine. They pushed it to 13 on their next two trips down, the Huskers largest deficit this game. A couple minutes and no Husker points later, the Iowa run became ten points, leading 47-31.

Palmer got a free throw and Roby hit a three to finally end the drought for Nebraska, which lasted near four minutes into the second half. Borchardt hit a couple layups to cut the lead to just ten. Watson’s three-pointer would trim it to single digits for the first time in six minutes.

But just like that, a Connor McCaffery layup and Isaiah Moss jumper put that lead right back up to 11 heading into the U12 timeout. A little back-and-forth, including another Roby three (who was 4-4 from deep at the time) and seven Palmer points (one on a ferocious reverse slam) kept the lead dwindling between seven and 11. Hawkeyes still lead 61-52 with seven minutes to go.

Palmer made another free throw and Watson hit a three to pull that lead all the way down to five. Garza would hit two jumpers the next two minutes as the only person to score. But Watson did not want to go down on Senior Day, so he went and knocked down a three-pointer with four minutes to go. Following a foul and TV timeout, Watson would hit two free throws for only a four-point lead.

Five straight Hawkeye points would all but kill the Huskers momentum. Fear not, for the Huskers never disappoint. Roby would make a quick layup, followed by Johnny Trueblood stealing the inbounds leading to a dunk from Roby. Iowa leads 70-65 with a minute and 38 seconds to go. Hawkeye’s next possesion would end with a crazy Bohannon stepback. Palmer missing a three and Roby fouling out would all but end the Huskers game.

But did it? Palmer hit two threes and Watson hit another. A loose ball scrum would result in a jump ball, giving Nebraska the ball. Amir Harris would hit two free throws (2/12 going into today) to bring the lead to only two points with 30 seconds left. Iowa made two free throws, but Watson’s hot streak would not end, as he canned another triple, cutting the lead to one.

Iowa would miss a free throw next trip and Palmer would drive to the rim to tie the game at 82. Bohannon could not get a shot off and, miraculously, we are headed to overtime.

Hawkeyes had a 96 percent chance to win with 40 seconds to go and the Huskers had 16 points in the final minute.

Huskers opened the period with a slick spin move by Thor to put the Huskers on top. Palmer’s dunk on Garza would be answered by an and-one for none other than Garza. Palmer’s layup put Huskers back up, but he was trumped by a Joe Wieskamp three. A minute later, Watson would hit a three to put Huskers up two. Tied at 91 with a minute to go.

Huskers take a timeout with thirty seconds. They dribble around for twenty second until AMIR HARRIS TAKES IN A LAYUP WITH TEN SECONDS TO GO. Is this real? A couple Huskers deflections would give the Hawkeyes 2.8 seconds left in the game. THOR WITH THE BLOCK AND THE GAME IS OVER!

Huskers season ends with a 16-15 record and they will need a huge run in the Big Ten Tournament to get to a postseason tourney. It’s an exciting end to what became a disappointing season. Go Big Red.

Final: Huskers 93, Iowa 91 (OT)