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Nebraska rallies from 17-down, defeats Wisconsin 73-63 in overtime

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

The Nebraska Cornhuskers men’s basketball team has now twice done what the football team has yet to do once in Big Ten competition: defeat the Wisconsin Badgers in back-to-back meetings. In downing the Badgers 73-63 in overtime in front of a raucous home crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday afternoon, the Huskers opened up a two-game win streak over UW dating back to a 74-73 victory in Madison on March 6, 2022. Previously, Nebraska in Big Ten competition only had back-to-back victories over Wisconsin in meetings on Feb. 9, 2017 and Jan. 29, 2018.

Saturday’s performance saw Keisei Tominaga score a game-high 22 points while Blaise Keita added a game-high 11 rebounds to go with his two steals. Derrick Walker added 18 points, Sam Griesel had 15, and Jamarques Lawrence added 11 for Huskers in double figures.

Griesel also led the team in helpers once again with six in addition to third on the team in rebounds with seven to go with one block. Walker was second on the glass for UNL with eight to go along with a steal, though he also had a team high eight turnovers.

Nebraska native Chucky Hepburn led Wisconsin in scoring with 19 points. Just two other Badgers hit double figures in scoring as the Huskers held the Badgers to just 36.2% from the field.

Saturday’s victory was a tale of grit and determination. UNL fell behind in the first half, though the team was able to ti it up at 10-10 at the 13:21 mark. Wisconsin quickly retook the lead and ended on a 13-3 run in the final five minutes to head into the locker room up 35-24 at the half.

Early in the second, UW was able to continue with the success, twice taking a 17-point lead with 17:31 and 16:12 remaining. UNL dug in and ate away at the deficit methodically. Then with 11:14 left, Tominaga hit yet another 3-pointer, one of five total for the day, to give the Huskers their first lead of the game up 48-47.

The teams would trade the lead back-and-forth or tie it up eight times down the stretch. Lawrence hit the go-ahead 3-pointer for Nebraska with 3:56 remaining to put the Huskers in the lead 61-59, but the Badgers tied it up on a jumper by Hepburn with 2:44 left. Neither team was able to score for the remainder of regulation, helped in part by a huge defensive play by Sam Hoiberg.

The game headed into overtime tied up at 61-61, but UNL was just getting started. Nebraska ended the game strong, mounting a 12-0 run in the extra period while Wisconsin finished 0-of-6 from field goal range, had three turnovers in the final four minutes, and a scoring drought in that same time as well.

The victory moves Nebraska to 12-14 on the season and 5-10 in league play, leaving the Huskers just one game behind Penn State who sits at No. 11 in the Big Ten standings with a 5-9 mark on conference action. Nebraska returns to action at No. 24 Rutgers on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. central time with the game broadcasting on the Big Ten Network.