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Nebraska Plays Tough But It’s Not Enough In A 71-81 Loss To #25 Illinois

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A tough loss that broke a few Husker hearts on Tuesday night

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska came into this game angry.

Angry and focused. At least that’s how they played after their double digit loss to Rutgers in Piscataway on Saturday.

Hoiberg was disappointed in the performance as we all were. I imagine the team took that to heart and put the frustration on the Illini.

The Huskers pushed the #25 Illini on a chilly winter night back home in Lincoln. They started strong. Leading for a good portion of the first half. Making Illinois work for every shot and rebound. Nebraska even ended the first on an 11-0 run to have a three point lead at half.

When was the last time the Huskers had an 11 point run on any team? Let alone a talented Illini team. It was a nice enough scoring run to give the Husker faithful hope that they could pull off a win versus a ranked team.

I am sure the Illini came into Lincoln thinking they were going to walk away with a win. They’ve won nine of their last eleven games coming in. A big and talented Illini squad that should challenge the top of the conference.

However, Lincoln is like many other venues in the Big Ten. Tough to take home a win even for some of the best talent in the conference. No win is guaranteed.

But, it was not to be for the Big Red. Nebraska’s ten point loss tonight was actually the most they trailed at any point in the game. The Huskers have yet to figure out how to pull these wins off.

The lead changed hands a total of five times during the game. The score never got away from either team by more than five points until the last few minutes of regulation. The Huskers may be the lesser team in the end but proved that they can go toe to toe with some of the best.

The Huskers were dominated by their starters and unlike past games as there was little production from the bench. Bryce McGowans lead the charge for the team with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 blocked shot. Ah yes, and there was this dunk he had at the beginning of the second half.

The big presence for Nebraska was Derek Walker. Even with the states Derek held his own against All Big Ten center Kofi Cockburn. Walker ending the night with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. No surprise, Kofi himself had a triple double with 16 points and a whopping 13 rebounds against the Huskers.

Alonzo Verge Jr. having another good game scoring with 14 points and as always giving 9 assists for the Huskers.

A close win, but close only counts in horses and hand grenades'.

Nebraska heads to West Lafayette on Friday to take on Purdue.