Big second half pushes #9 Wisconsin past Nebraska, 67-53

Sports

Wisconsin’s Aleem Ford shoots over Nebraska’s Thorir Thorbjarnarson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

(Courtesy Nebraska Athletics)

The Nebraska men’s basketball team led by double digits in the first half and was on top with 14 minutes to play Tuesday night at No. 9 Wisconsin, but the defending Big Ten champion Badgers used a pair of big scoring runs to spoil the Huskers’ upset bid in a 67-53 victory.

Nebraska led by 10 with less than five minutes to play in the first half before Wisconsin responded with 14 straight points en route to taking a one-point lead into the locker room. After Nebraska battled back to regain the lead six minutes into the second half, the Badgers used a 16-0 run to pull away from the Huskers.

With the win, Wisconsin improved to 7-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play, while Nebraska fell to 4-4 overall and 0-1 in conference action. The Huskers have led in the second half in three of their four losses.

After shooting just 31 percent in the first half, Wisconsin shot 50 percent in the second half, knocking down 13-of-26 shots. Nebraska shot just 33 percent for the night and although the Huskers matched Wisconsin with eight 3-pointers, Nebraska was just 9-of-17 from the free throw line while Wisconsin was 15-of-15. Dalano Banton led three Huskers in double figures with 15 points, with Teddy Allen adding 11 points and Trey McGowens chipping in 10. Banton also led Nebraska with eight rebounds and four assists. Four of Wisconsin’s five starters finished in double figures. Brad Davison scored 11 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, while Micah Potter had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Nebraska led for much of the first half thanks to an inspired defensive effort. The Huskers held Wisconsin scoreless for nearly five minutes to open the game, and the Badgers managed just one field goal in the first 12 minutes, opening 1-of-16 from the floor.

Nebraska needed the strong defensive effort, as the Huskers missed 11 of their first 14 shots. Despite the cold start, an 8-0 run put Nebraska on top 10-3 midway through the period. The Huskers stretched the lead to nine two minutes later following back-to-back 3-pointers from Allen. After Nebraska built its first double-digit lead at 21-11 with 4:42 remaining in the half, Wisconsin responded with a 14-0 run to take a four-point lead. Thorir Thorbjarnarson snapped the run and broke a four-minute scoreless drought for the Big Red with a late 3-pointer that sent Nebraska into the locker room down only one at 25-24.

Wisconsin then scored the first five points of the second half, extending its run to 19-3 and its lead to six. Nebraska bounced back, scoring nine of the next 11 points, using a 7-0 spurt to retake a 33-32 lead. But the Badgers answered with 16 straight points to take a 48-33 lead with 9:24 remaining.

After it regained the lead, Nebraska made only one field goal over the next 10 minutes, during which time the Badgers outscored the Huskers 25-7 to put the game away. Nebraska was just 9-of-27 from the field in the second half.

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