Huskers top Iowa in 2OT, off to best league start since ’76
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska could have let its surprise start in the Big Ten slip away when it failed to put away Iowa at the end of regulation.
Instead, the Cornhuskers kept battling through two overtimes and finally won 93-90 on Thursday night, and now they’re off to their best start in conference play since 1975-76.
Glynn Watson Jr. made 7 of 8 3-pointers and scored a career-high 34 points, Tai Webster hit the go-ahead free throw in the last minute, and the Huskers withstood some anxious moments to win their conference home opener.
“I just knew we would pull it off,” Watson said. “Coach (Tim) Miles told us it would be tough, and we showed we’re the toughest team tonight.”
The Huskers (9-6, 3-0 Big Ten) came into the game off surprising road wins over Indiana and Maryland.
“We’re really seeing the result of always talking about how we’re the most together group we’ve had in years,” Webster said. “Now it’s really come and showing just how together we are.”
The Huskers had a chance to win in regulation, but Evan Taylor missed two free throws with 1.3 seconds left. Taylor got to the line after Nicholas Baer fouled him from behind on a fast break.
“Can’t blame him for that,” Webster said. “It could have been anyone, it could have been me.”
Taylor came into the game having made 12 of 14 free throws for the season but was 0 for 5 against the Hawks.
“Of course, in the locker room we joke with him that he’s not practicing tomorrow,” Webster said. “It’ll be, ‘Jump on the free-throw line — 100 free throws for you and you’re good,’ ”
Peter Jok scored 34 points to lead Iowa (9-7, 1-2), which saw its five-game win streak against Nebraska end.
“Nebraska’s a great team,” Jok said. “They’ve been on a roll. I felt like we played great and had chances to win it.”
Webster finished with 23 points and seven assists for the Huskers, Jeriah Horne added 12 points and Michael Jacobson had 13 rebounds.
Webster went to the line after Jok fouled out with 54.6 seconds left in the second overtime. He made the first and missed the second, leaving the Huskers with a one-point lead.
Horne made two more free throws with 17.4 seconds to play. The Hawkeyes still had two chances to win, but Jordan Bohannon missed a shot and, after Taylor missed two more free throws, Brady Ellingson was off with his desperation 3-point try at the buzzer.
Isaiah Moss had 17 points for the Hawks, Tyler Cook added 14 and Cordell Pemsl 10.
“We should have won,” Moss said. “It hurts. We had a lot of opportunities to close it out and couldn’t do it.”
Iowa: The Hawkeyes dropped to 0-3 in true road games but hung tough in a hostile environment with a starting lineup that includes four freshmen and a senior.
Nebraska: The Huskers continue to get impressive play from the backcourt of Watson and Webster, who combined for 57 points, and showed their road wins over Indiana and Maryland were no fluke.
Nebraska finished 19 for 35 on free throws. “We do practice free throws. I just want you to know that,” Miles said. The Huskers made all six of their free throws in the first overtime to force another period.
Iowa held a 27-5 advantage in second-chance points and blocked eight shots, six by Baer.
TIME TO REST
Webster said after the game that he couldn’t remember what happened in the first half. No surprise. He played 49 of the 50 minutes.
“I just want to go home, to be honest,” he said. “I can’t feel my legs. They were cramping all second half. I was done in the second half, really.”
Webster said assistant coach Michael Lewis urged him on.
“Coach Lew, he’s great at getting in my head, and he really challenged me,” Webster said. “Luckily, I responded.”
Iowa: Hosts Rutgers on Sunday.
Nebraska: Hosts Northwestern on Sunday.