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Nebraska Men’s Basketball Recap: Iowa Freezes Nebraska 94-76

A typical Nebrasketball egg after a big win

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Nebraska Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

First Half Analysis:

Uhh...did the guys forget to get off the freaking bus?! Iowa started off the game 17-2, and this looked like it was going to get really ugly quickly. Nebraska clearly used up it’s 3-point prowess against Purdue, as the Huskers finished the half 1-10 from downtown. The only thing colder may be the temperature. Iowa was moving the ball around well, with 13 assists on 16 made field goals. The story for Nebraska keeping this one relatively close was the fact they were getting plenty of easy looks inside. Nebraska finished the last 15 minutes of the half outscoring Iowa 34-21.

Nebraska shot 16-32 for 50% from the floor, but an abysmal 1-10 from 3-point land. The Huskers recorded 18 rebounds in the first half, but only 2 were offensive. The ball seemed to stick more than usual, as Nebraska only collected 7 assists. They had 5 steals in the first half.

Rienk Mast and Eli Rice led the way with 9 points a piece, while Josiah Allick had 6. C.J Wilcher led Nebraska with 4 rebounds, while Mast, Brice Williams and Sam Hoiberg each had 3.

Iowa shot 16-35 for 45.7% from the floor in the first half, including 7-20 for 35% from 3-point range. Iowa collected 19 rebounds, 4 of which were offensive. The Hawkeyes moved the ball really well, as 13 assists were created on those 16 made field goals.

Payton Sandfort led the way with 13 points, including hitting 3 shots from deep. Owen Freeman was next with 8. Freeman led the way with 5 rebounds, while Patrick McCaffrey and Sandfort each had 4. Tony Perkins had 7 assists.

Second Half Analysis:

The good news was Nebraska started out the 2nd half with their hair on fire and took the lead for the first time at the 17:13 mark with a Tominaga jumper. The bad news was Nebraska’s lead lasted just under 30 game seconds, particularly after Iowa switched to a zone and it was game over. Nebraska’s shooting woes from 3 continued in a way most expert limbo-ers would have snapped themselves in half. Iowa on the other hand found every open look with an extra pass and hit the open 3. The tale of the tape will be from the 3-point line, as Nebraska went 3-16 and Iowa went 8-15 in the second half.

Final Stats and Thoughts:

Nebraska finished the game shooting a respectable 30-63 for 47.6% from the floor, but an abominable 4-26 for 15.4% from the three-point line. Nebraska did shoot at a very high rate from inside the arc, going 26-37 for 70.3%. Nebraska finished 12-15 from the free-throw line. The Huskers had 34 rebounds, 8 of them came offensively. Nebraska had 14 assists while only committing 8 turnovers. The biggest plus was 46 points in the paint.

The Nebraska bigs carried the load tonight, as Rienk Mast and Josiah Allick led the way with 14 points a piece. Keisei Tominaga had 13 while Eli Rice had a solid 11 from the bench. Sam Hoiberg paced Nebraska with 6 rebounds, while Mast, Allick and Juwan Gary each had 5. Hoiberg also had 4 assists and 2 steals, which led both categories.

Iowa finished the game shooting 35-67 for 52.2% from the floor, including a very solid 15-35 for 42.9% from the three-point line. Iowa went 9-14 from the free-throw line. The Hawkeyes had 36 rebounds on the night, 9 of which were offensive. Sharing the basketball was the theme for Iowa, as they recorded a whopping 30 assists, while only committing 6 turnovers.

The Hawkeyes had a gluttony of double figure scorers, led by Owen Freeman’s career high 22 points. Payton Sandfort had 19, Josh Dix had a career high 16 off the bench, Ben Krikke and Patrick McCaffrey had 12 each and Tony Perkins finished with 11. Freeman and Sandfort tied for a team high 10 rebounds, while Tony Perkins ended with a career high 15 assists.

A couple of final takeaways: Nebraska has played three fast-paced teams in Creighton, Wisconsin and Iowa. Nebraska has made the same mistake by playing to their opponents brand of basketball in all three games and it has led to three double digit losses. If Nebraska wants to do anything of relevance from here on out, it MUST play its style of basketball, particularly on the road. Credit to the Iowa offense for multiple open looks and made shots and the defensive adjustment made by Fran as the zone baffled the Husker offense. 3 Hawkeyes finished with double-doubles, and it was done with finding the open man and strong defensive rebounding. Finally, the three-point shooting was the entire story of this game. Iowa was a plus 33 in that department. The three-ball has served Nebraska well, but not tonight.

Nebraska will look for their first conference road win on Wednesday, January 17th as they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, New Jersey. Tip off will be at 6:00PM CST and will air on BTN.