Fouls my friends. Fouls is what really determined the winner of this game. At least on paper as far as one can gather.
You see, Nebraska was not exactly far behind Purdue on this cold night in Indiana. The score, somewhat ugly, really only tells part of the story for these two team. The stats that made up this game is where you will see what truly went wrong for the Huskers and gave the Boilermakers their second win of the night.
To start off. The Huskers really didn’t shoot that much worse the the Boilermakers. In fact, they were barely behind them with Nebraska shooting 43.4% to Purdue’s 44.2%. Okay, that’s all fine and well. Nebraska took fifty three shots and and made twenty-three to Purdue shooting fifty two shots and just making an identical twenty-three. There’s still a big point differential we are dealing with here. So let’s look at the three point comparison.
Purdue did win this one too. But again, not by a whole lot. Nebraska was 7-16 on the night where Purdue was 11-29. A much worse percentage for the Boilermakers but they also took way more shots. However, we are talking twelve points here. Enough to have a point advantage enough to win. But not enough for the blowout that was at hand.
The killer comes down to the free-throws. That my friends is what was the major player in tonight's loss.
Nebraska had a total of 19 fouls which lead to the Boilermakers shooting 16-20. On the other side of the court, Purdue had 13 fouls but the Huskers only saw the free-throw line three times that night and only made two.
That fourteen point difference is a huge gap that put the Huskers in the hole all night and they just didn’t have the horses or discipline to pull themselves out of it.
Yes the fact that Purdue outrebounded Nebraska 38-19 also didn’t help but that’s what you get going up against one of the best centers in the country. You can’t always win those battles but the discipline you can and the Huskers didn’t.
It did not help that Sam Griesel and Juwan Gary were out for tonight's game. The loss of their talent and leadership alone handicaped the Huskers heading into this game. But you cannot blame a single loss on the lack of two players. The Huskers could very well be having this same problem for a bit depending on when those two players make it back on the court.
Until then, Fred will need to figure out his lineup as we are now deep into the conference schedule with very little light at the end of the tunnel.
Nebraska returns to action this upcoming Wednesday at home against Ohio State at 6pm.