Iowa had a pair of double-digit scoring runs during a dominant first-half performance that powered the Hawkeyes to a 98-75 victory over the Nebraska men’s basketball team Sunday afternoon in Iowa City.
Nebraska led by four six minutes into the game, but Iowa used two huge runs to take a 28-point lead into the locker room. The Hawkeyes had runs of 15-0 and 11-0 while outscoring the Huskers 42-10 over the final 14 minutes of the first half. Iowa led 53-25 at halftime thanks in large part to a defense that forced 12 first-half Husker turnovers, leading to a 19-0 advantage in points off turnovers for the Hawkeyes.
Keegan Murray, the Big Ten scoring leader, scored 24 points in the first half, nearly matching Nebraska’s halftime total. Murray finished with a career-high 37 points to help Iowa improved to 17-7 on the season and 7-6 in Big Ten play.
Derrick Walker led Nebraska (7-18, 1-13 Big Ten) with 14 points and six rebounds, scoring 10 second-half points. Walker was one of three Huskers in double figures, as Bryce McGowens added 11 points and Eduardo Andre had 10 points, the second double-figure scoring game of his career and his first in a Big Ten Conference game. Alonzo Verge Jr. led Nebraska with a game-high six assists to go along with five points and four rebounds. Jackson Cronin added a career-high five points, as all 10 Huskers who played scored at least five points.
Lat Mayen scored five of Nebraska’s first seven points to open the game, but the Huskers trailed 9-7 at the first media timeout. A Mayen basket just before the break sparked a 10-2 Husker run, when Nebraska held Iowa without a field goal for more than four minutes.
Nebraska led 15-11 six minutes into the game, but it was all Hawkeyes the rest of the half. Fueled by Murray, Iowa outscored Nebraska 24-4 over the next seven minutes to turn the four-point deficit into a 16-point lead. Murray scored 16 points during the run, including the first 12 points of a 15-0 Hawkeye spurt that saw Iowa take a 35-19 lead with seven minutes left in the half.
Iowa outscored Nebraska by three over the next four minutes before the Hawkeyes scored 11 straight points to continue to pull away. Paul Sandfort capped the run with five straight points, giving the Hawkeyes a 46-21 lead with four minutes remaining in the half. Keisei Tominaga stopped the run with a pair of free throws, but Iowa scored seven of the final nine points of the half to take a 53-25 halftime lead.
Nebraska struggled with its shot in the first half, going just 9-of-29 (31 percent) from the field and only 2-of-14 (14 percent) from the 3-point line. But turnovers were just as big of a problem for the Huskers, who entered the game with the fourth-best turnover margin in the Big Ten. Nebraska turned it over 12 times in the first half, and the Huskers were outscored 19-0 in points off turnovers.
The Huskers made four of their first seven shots in the second half, but Iowa was still able to stretch its lead to 36. Despite the deficit, Nebraska continued to fight. The Huskers had a pair of 10-0 runs midway through the second half, using a 20-3 run to trim to pull within 20.
The McGowens brothers combined for eight points during the first 10-0 run, which saw the Huskers trim the lead 26. Two minutes later, Kobe Webster hit a pair of 3-pointers in another 10-0 spurt that cut the lead to 19 with 8:31 to play.
But that would be as close as Nebraska would get. Iowa scored the next seven points and cruised to its third straight double-digit win.
Nebraska returns home on Friday for a matchup with the Maryland Terrapins at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.