Dylan Talley had 16 points and seven rebounds, as Nebraska put together one of its best defensive efforts of the season in a 67-53 win over Penn State Saturday evening.
Talley led three Huskers in double figures, as the Huskers snapped a two-game losing streak and returned to the .500 mark (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten). Brandon Ubel joined Talley in double figures with 14 points and nine rebounds while Ray Gallegos added 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.
The Huskers made a living at the foul line, setting season bests in free throws made (32) and attempted (41), while their 32 free throws was its highest total since 2005.
Nebraska clamped down defensively against Penn State (8-15, 0-11 Big Ten), holding the Nittany Lions to 29.2 from the floor en route to its first conference sweep of an opponent since 2009. The Huskers held D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall – Penn State’s top two scorers – to a combined 7-of-24 shooting.
The Huskers took control of the game on the defensive end, using a 20-4 first-half run to gain control for good after the first 10 minutes saw the teams trade the lead back and forth. Nebraska held PSU without a field goal for a stretch of 11:26, as the Nittany Lions went just 5-of-25 from the floor in the half.
Trailing 17-13, Nebraska ran off seven straight points, capped by Talley’s 3-pointer that put the Huskers up 20-17 with 7:50 left in the half. After a pair of free throws by Alan Wisniewski cut NU’s advantage to one, the Huskers went on a 9-0 spurt to push the margin to 29-19. NU eventually built a 12-point lead before Penn State scored the final five points of the half to make it 33-26 at the break.
Both teams spent significant time at the foul line in the first 20 minutes, as the Nittany Lions scored 16 of their 26 points from the stripe, while the Huskers went 12-of-15 before the break.
The Huskers asserted control early in the second half, using a 12-2 spurt behind Talley and Ubel to build its largest lead of the night at 45-28 with 14:11 left. The two seniors combined for seven of the Huskers points in the run, as Nebraska was able to get inside against Penn State and get to the foul line.
Nebraska eventually pushed the lead to 18 but Penn State would claw back, using a 6-0 spur to pull within 52-40 after a Newbill jumper. The Huskers would answer right back as a Talley 3-pointer and a Ubel free throw pushed the lead back to 16, at 56-40, and Nebraska would have a double-digit lead the rest of the evening.
The Huskers return to action Wednesday night, as they travel to No. 1 Indiana.