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Nebrasketball: Huskers fall to No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers 73-65

Brad Davison remains Big Ten incarnation of Grayson Allen

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

The Nebraska Cornhuskers men’s basketball team returned to the hardwood for the first time in 10 days following a COVID-19 caused shutdown of games. The Huskers managed to hang tough with the visiting No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers through the first half, but were unable to maintain the momentum. The Huskers move to 6-14 overall and 0-9 in conference play.

Bryce McGowens led the Huskers in scoring, notching 23 points. 17 came in the first half, marking the sixth 20-point game of the season for the freshman. McGowens leads the team in games with 20+ points, tying Jerry Fort (1972-73) for the second-most 20+ point games by a Husker freshman in school history.

Lat Mayen and Alonzo Verge Jr. both added 11 points, a season-high for Mayen and his first double-figure game of the season. Verge leads the team in games in double-figures with 16. Meanwhile, Trey McGowens returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the Huskers faced Creighton on Nov. 16.

The game opened competitively, going back and forth for the first five minutes or so of game action. Wisconsin tied it up at 11 at the 14:38 mark on a free throw by Lorne Bowman II, but Nebraska’s C.J. Wilcher responded with a three-pointer off an offensive rebound by Eduardo Andre to start a mini-run for the Huskers. UNL pushed the lead to as much as five before Wisconsin was able to respond.

Wisconsin fought back and led for the remainder of the game at the 9:28 mark in the first half off a three-point jumper by Omaha native Chucky Hepburn, leading 23-21. The Badgers went on to lead by 10 at the 1:58 mark before Verge cut it back to single digits where it would remain for the rest of the half. UNL headed into the locker room trailing 39-31.

Second half woes continued for Nebraska as Wisconsin led by double digits for most of the first 10 minutes of the half, pushing the lead to as much as 18 multiple times. Still, the Huskers had an 11-0 run at one point during that stretch to cut the Badger lead from 18 down to seven. B. McGowens scored a layup at the 6:23 mark to cut the deficit down that low.

Overall, the McGowens brothers had all 11 points in that run, with Bryce scoring eight points and Trey adding three points. During the run, the Huskers held Wisconsin without a field goal for a 6:22 stretch of game play.

Nebraska held Wisconsin to 36.8 percent shooting in the game, the Badgers’ fourth-lowest mark of the season and worst mark since Dec. 11. The Badgers had shot at least 41 percent from the field in eight consecutive games entering tonight. Nebraska closed the game out going three-for-three and five-for-seven on the team’s final shot attempts. Unfortunately, the Badgers ended four-for-five during that same stretch.

Nebraska welcomes Rutgers to Lincoln on Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. CST tipoff. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The Scarlet Knights are currently 11-8 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten. The Huskers lost 93-65 earlier this month in Piscataway.