Nebraska Falls to Northwestern in Men’s Basketball

Bryce McGowens set Nebraska’s freshman scoring record Tuesday night at Northwestern, but the Wildcats defeated the Huskers 77-65 at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

McGowens scored 15 points – including 10 in the second half – to give him 452 points in 27 games this season. His point total is the highest by a Husker freshman in school history, surpassing the 445 points Dave Hoppen scored in 32 games as a freshman during the 1982-83 season. McGowens also grabbed 10 rebounds to post his second double-double of the season.

Chicago native Alonzo Verge Jr. matched McGowens with 15 points, while adding four steals. Verge scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half, helping the Huskers (7-20 overall, 1-15 Big Ten) trail by only six at halftime. Kobe Webster added 13 points, while Derrick Walker had 10 rebounds and five assists.

Pete Nance scored points to lead Northwestern, which evened its season record at 13-13 while improving to 6-11 in Big Ten play. A total of four Wildcats finished in double figures.

More than half (32) of Northwestern’s 60 shots were 3-pointers, and the Wildcats knocked down 13 threes. Northwestern shot 50 percent for the game, including 41 percent from beyond the arc. Nebraska was just 7-of-24 from the 3-point line, and the Huskers shot only 41 percent overall. Nebraska out-rebounded Northwestern 35-31.

Northwestern started the game strong as the Wildcats made their first four shots to jump out to a 9-2 lead. A 7-0 spurt six minutes later gave Northwestern a 19-7 lead less than nine minutes into the game. Webster snapped the run with a 3-pointer but the Wildcats scored the next five points to lead 24-10 with 8:31 left in the first half.

Nebraska inched closer the rest of the period. A 7-2 Husker run trimmed the lead back to single digits. Northwestern pushed the lead back to double digits with three minutes left in the half before the Huskers closed the half on a run. Nebraska outscored Northwestern 8-3 over the final 2:31 of the first half, cutting an 11-point deficit down to six at the break.

Nebraska shot 45 percent from the field in the first half despite connecting on just 3-of-11 3-pointers. Northwestern shot the ball slightly better at 46 percent, but the Wildcats were 7-of-21 from beyond the arc. Verge paced Nebraska with 10 points in the first half on 4-of-6, while Webster added seven points.

Lat Mayen scored a bucket 12 seconds into second half to pull Nebraska within four, but ultimately that was as close as the Huskers would get. Northwestern answered Mayen’s basket with nine straight points, stretching the lead to 13. Following the run, Northwestern led by double digits for the next 16 minutes until Nebraska made one late, final push.

Northwestern was on top 72-55 with 3:26 to play but Nebraska did not go down quietly. A pair of McGowens free throws and back-to-back 3-pointers from Webster and Verge made up an 8-0 run that saw the Huskers cut the lead to nine with 1:47 to play. But Northwestern answered with a late-shot clock basket on its next possession, and the Wildcats made three of their four free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.

Nebraska returns home on Friday, when the Huskers will host the Iowa Hawkeyes in their final home game of the season. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena