It took 404 days, but the long Big Ten drought is finally over! The Nebraska Cornhuskers ended the conference losing streak with the first win in league play since beating Iowa on Jan. 7, 2020. Nebraska went into Happy Valley and beat the Penn State Nittany Lions 62-61 on Valentine’s Day! It was also the first win at Penn State by Nebraska since Jan. 19, 2013.
Both teams had a sluggish start to the game as the Huskers committed three straight turnovers on offensive possessions, and Penn State struggled at first with scoring. However, after taking over two minutes to tie the game up at 2-2, Penn State went on a 5-0 run to extend the lead to 7-2 by the first media timeout with 15:27 to go. Call it hangover from the Illinois game or maybe exhaustion, but Nebraska was just incredibly sloppy with the ball.
Teddy Allen finally ended an almost three minute Husker scoring drought with a three and Kobe Webster hit another on the next possession to bring the Huskers back within two, trailing 8-10. Penn State responded again with yet another 5-0 run before Shamiel Stevenson slammed down a highlight dunk and then a Kobe Webster layup cut it back to three, 12-15. Penn State’s Sam Sessoms responded with a jumper and it was time for the second media timeout with PSU leading 17-12 with 11:23 to go.
The Huskers kept it tight, but couldn’t pull out of the deficit entirely during the next stretch. After Penn State stretched the lead back to eight on a second chance three by Seth Lundy, a Webster jumper and Allen three cut it back to within three, trailing 17-20. A Walker dunk even trimmed it to within two before Myles Dread pushed it back to 21-25 PSU before the third media timeout with 5:38 to go. Nebraska cut down on the turnovers at least, adding just three since the first media timeout.
Finally, the Huskers tied it back up at 28 off a Trey McGowens dunk with 3:42 to go. Myreon Jone hit a fast layup on the next possession for PSU to push it back to 30-28 Nittany Lions before the final media timeout. Allen airballed a three to stop play for the media timeout, and proceeded to foul Izaiah Brockington who hit both his free throws. Dalano Banton nailed a three to trim it back to one. After he fouled Myreon Jones and Jones missed both his free throws, Nebraska even took a lead off a Banton layup and extended it to 35-32 off a Yvan Ouedraogo layup. Ouedraogo drew an and one, but missed the extra point from the line. Dread scored the final points of the half for Penn State as he drained a three to tie it back up at 35 heading into the locker room.
The Huskers finished the half with a great stat line overall. They finished with just 6 turnovers and went 15-for-30 from the field, including 5-13 from three. The zone heavy defense seemed to do the trick in terms of keeping the Nittany Lions’ bigs off the scoreboard as they scored just six points in the first half, but it left Penn State wide open on too many threes and that made the difference. PSU went 7-for-20 from deep.
The Huskers came out of the locker room hot with a 5-0 run right off the bat. After UNL pushed the lead out to 40-35, PSU ended the run with a three but McGowens answered right back and stretched it out to 45-38 off a second chance jumper by McGowens. By the time it was the first media timeout with 15:58 to go, Nebraska was up 47-40.
Penn State managed to bring it within four with 13:46 to go off an and one dunk and free throw by Brockington when Eduardo Andre fouled him. Webster responded with a deep, deep three on the next Husker offensive possession to make it 54-47 Huskers. Shortly thereafter another Walker slam extended the Husker lead to the largest of the game, up nine with 9:15 to go as the game went into another media timeout Nebraska leading 58-49.
Allen extended the lead to 11 with a layup after the break, but then breakdowns on defense led to a Husker timeout. Penn State managed back-to-back layups by Jamari Wheeler and John Harrar to cut it Nebraska’s lead to seven and the Huskers called a timeout. Penn State stretched the run to 6-0 as both teams entered a field goal drought. Going into the media timeout with 3:38 to go, the Huskers went 0-for-5 from the field, committed five turnovers, and were in a 5:05 scoring drought. PSU managed just two free throws during a 4:03 long field goal drought prior to the timeout as well.
Coming out of the media timeout, PSU extended it to a 12-0 run, seizing the lead 61-60 off a Jones three that Banton gave him an extra point on with a stupid foul to let the Nittany Lion turn it into a four point play. The Huskers, meanwhile, suffered an ongoing field goal drought for 8:43 until Teddy Allen finally got a layup with just :12 left to take the lead back 62-61. Penn State called timeout with :08.3 seconds left. The Huskers blocked Penn State’s final shot attempt and got the ball. An immediate foul sent it into an inbound attempt and Teddy Allen dribbled off the final :01.6 off the clock for the win!
It was quite the team effort in the end. Nebraska finished the game with 34 points in the paint, but suffered a near disaster with turnovers late as they finished the game with 16 total. The Huskers finished the game 7-19 from three, and just 27-56 from the field.
Allen led the team in scoring with 14, while Webster added 13 and McGowens added 10. Allen also led on the glass with six boards while Banton dished a team high six assists. Mayen led with two blocks and McGowens with three steals.
Penn State finished the game with a narrow advantage in total rebounds, 30-26, but dominated on the offensive glass with 13 boards that helped give them 10 second chance points and kept turnovers to just 12. Jones led the Nittany Lions with 18 points and Dread added 14. Harrar finished the game with 11 boards.
The Cornhuskers move to 1-9 in Big Ten play, and 4-12 overall. They return to action in College Park Tuesday to open back-to-back games against the Maryland Terrapins.