Northwestern falters vs. lowly Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. — It's been a strange two weeks for the Northwestern basketball program.
After getting blasted by 20 points in a home game against Iowa on Jan. 13, the Wildcats went to Champaign four days later and dominated in a 68-54 victory over the Illini.
Then after suffering a loss to No. 2 Indiana on Jan. 20, coach Bill Carmody's squad upset 12th-ranked Minnesota 55-48 on Wednesday.
The up-and-down season didn't figure to take a nosedive Saturday when NU traveled to play a Nebraska team that was just 1-6 in the conference, but that's exactly what happened in an embarassing 64-49 setback.
"I don't think it had to do with us not coming ready to play or not taking Nebraska seriously," said Dave Sobolewski, who matched his season high with 21 points. "We knew what Nebraska was capable of — good team, a lot of good players, balanced team, balanced scoring. We came out knowing that if we didn't come to play, that they could beat us. If a couple shots had fallen in the first half, it could have been a different story."
The setback dropped Northwestern to 12-9 and 3-5 in conference with a trip to second-ranked Michigan on tap Wednesday.
The Cornhuskers (11-10, 2-6) won for the first time in four conference home games and posted their largest margin of victory of the season.
Dylan Talley scored 20 points and had eight rebounds and two steals for the Huskers. Brandon Ubel added 14 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots.
The win was timely for a Nebraska team that visits No. 12 Minnesota on Tuesday before facing No. 14 Ohio State at home next Saturday.
"The fact Northwestern went to Illinois and won and then beat Minnesota, that's a quality win for us," said Cornhuskers coach Tim Miles. "And it maybe shows our guys that if we do it right and hang in there, we can do this."
Ray Gallegos put the Huskers up 52-37 after he took Ubel's pass off a steal and drove the length of the court for a dunk. Talley's jump shot and layup stretched it to 16 points.
The teams scuffled through the first half, with Nebraska shooting 37 percent and Northwestern 32 percent from the field.
Nebraska, not bothered when the Wildcats went to a 1-3-1 zone, warmed up to 54 percent in the second half and finished at 45 percent. Northwestern stayed cold and ended the game at 32 percent. The Wildcats' only worse shooting performance this season was 29 percent in a 20-point loss to Iowa.
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